Police commissioner tells cops to let the stoners blaze

Following a groundbreaking court judgment last week, national police commissioner  Lieutenant General Khehla Sitole has instructed the Hawks, all police section heads and commanders of the police training academy not to arrest anyone for the private use, cultivation or possession of cannabis.

The Constitutional Court last week declared invalid provisions of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act which prohibited the private possession use and cultivation of cannabis.

In a directive — which the Mail & Guardian has seen and has been sent to all police commanders and division heads at the Hawks — the police are advised to immediately cease the arrest of people found in possession of cannabis while parliament decides on the amount an individual may carry.

However, Sitole reminded police that the use of cannabis in a public place is still illegal.

In last week’s judgment, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo ordered that if an officer is unsure whether the cannabis found on a person is for private or commercial use, the officer should rather not carry out an arrest.


The directive further instructed police to adhere to Zondo’s order.

Officers are advised to “take into account all the relevant circumstances of a particular situation” before deciding whether or not to arrest.

“If it can be said that there is reasonable suspicion that a person has committed an offense in terms of the relevant legislation, or poses a flight risk [the police should arrest them],” Sitole wrote.

“[Police] should rather register a criminal case docket and ensure that the suspect is brought to court by means of a summons or written notice,” Sitole stated.

Sitole further warned police officers not to implement any other directives after the apparent leaking of a document from the Limpopo Hawks. The document set the limit of how much cannabis can be cultivated or possessed privately at three kilograms.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Govan Whittles

Govan Whittles is a general news and political multimedia journalist at the Mail & Guardian. Born in King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, he cut his teeth as a radio journalist at Primedia Broadcasting. He produced two documentaries and one short film for the Walter Sisulu University, and enjoys writing about grassroots issues, national politics, identity, heritage and hip-hop culture.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Ithala fails to act against board chairperson over PPE scandal

Morar asked to settle with the state and pay back the profit he made on an irregular tender

Vodacom swindled out of more than R24m worth of iPhones

A former employee allegedly ran an intricate scam to steal 8700 phones from the cellular giant

More top stories

‘Extreme’ tactics and lockdown buy rhino more time

The Rockwood Conservation reserve boasts zero poaching incidents in six years and its breeding project is successful, but costly

What is EFF’s party funding quest?

Its court application to force disclosure of donations to Cyril Ramaphosa may mask a bid to portray him as a capitalist puppet

North West premier in phone tapping claims

‘Agents’ working for Job Mokgoro allegedly tapped ANC and cabinet members’ phones

Judicial committee orders Mogoeng to apologise for SA-Israel remarks

The JCC said that by the chief justice straying into politics, he breached the judicial conduct code and ordered him to issue an apology and retraction
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…