Constitutional protection of the right to privacy: The contribution of Chief Justice Langa to the law of search and seizure

Authors Chuks Okpaluba

ISSN: 1996-2088
Affiliations: Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Fort Hare
Source: Acta Juridica, 2015, p. 407 – 429


The right to privacy in s 14 of the Constitution includes the right not to have one’s person or home searched, one’s property searched, one’s possessions seized, or the privacy of one’s communications infringed. Chief Justice Langa wrote two landmark judgments of the Constitutional Court concerning constitutional protection of privacy in the context of search and seizure operations: Investigating Directorate: Serious Economic Offences v Hyundai Motors Distributors (Pty) Ltd concerning the constitutional validity of statutory provisions authorising the issue of search warrants to investigate serious crimes, and Thint (Pty) Ltd v National Director of Public Prosecutions; Zuma and Another v National Director of Public Prosecutions, concerning the constitutional validity of applications for search warrants, their terms, and the manner of their execution. This contribution explains the significance of these judgments, placing them in the context of the common law and the Constitution’s protection of privacy more generally. In the final analysis, it becomes clear that Chief Justice Langa’s contributions to this branch of the law were enormous and his erudition epitomised clarity.