Skip to main content

I’m in favour of a zero tolerance approach. Why can’t suspected criminals and vagrants be immediately uplifted and removed from Camps Bay?

Short answer:

Leaving aside ethical and practical issues, uplifting and removing individuals without due process is illegal and unconstitutional and anyone attempting to do so will soon find themselves under arrest. It is therefore not a strategy. The CID’s integrated Safety and Security and Social Development strategy will address these issues within the confines of the law.

Long answer providing more clarity:

In all civilised democracies, the process of apprehending and removing suspected criminals is governed by a legal framework and human rights considerations. While there may be a desire to address issues swiftly, there are several reasons why individuals cannot be immediately uplifted and removed without due process. 

There are several reasons why our law does not permit suspected criminals (including vagrants) to be immediately uplifted. The principle of the “rule of law” implies that actions taken by law enforcement and the government must be in accordance with established legal procedures and principles. Arresting or removing individuals without proper legal justification would violate the rule of law.

In addition, South Africa is a Constitutional democracy and the Constitution protects us all against arbitrary state actions including by granting each one of us, including suspected criminals and vagrants, the right to a fair trial, the right to legal representation and protection against arbitrary detention. Any attempt to immediately uplift and remove individuals without respecting these rights would be unconstitutional. Due process also requires that suspected criminals are formally charged, informed of their rights, and given an opportunity to defend themselves in court.

There are also obvious ethical issues and practical issues with arbitrarily “uplifting” vagrants, some of whom have mental health and other issues. The simple fact of the matter is that if people representing Camps Bay were to behave without due process they would soon find themselves under arrest. As such, immediately upliftment and removal is not a strategy that can even be considered.

Law enforcement authorities are both trained and have the power to process suspected criminals. One of the key provisions of the CID Business Plan is the deployment of two 24-7 dedicated Law Enforcement officers, at least one in a Tac vehicle, with the powers to arrest, detain and search. This resource will also be better deployed by our use of camera technology and an integrated radio network to respond faster and prevent anti-social behaviour from taking a foothold. This is the only way in which we can address the symptomatic side of the problems within the confines of the law.

In addition, the CID Business Plan aims to implement various programmes to address the cause of the problems, including a Social development team to co-ordinate the various municipal and provincial authorities where required. Experience shows that without these efforts being co-ordinated, nothing happens. With co-ordination, it does.

For more details, see our other FAQs for how the CID’s integrated Safety and Security and Social Development strategy aims to solve this and other related issues.