Quantification of damages for unlawful arrest and detention: South Africa, Namibia and Eswatini/Swaziland (2)

Author: Chuks Okpaluba

ISSN: 1996-2118
Affiliations: LLB, LLM (London), PhD (West Indies), Research Fellow, Centre for Human Rights, University of the Free State
Source: South African Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 33 Issue 3, p. 617 – 645


The discussion of the South African case law on the quantification of damages arising from wrongful arrest and detention which commenced in part (1) of this series, continues in the present part. In part (1), the Constitutional Court judgment in Zealand v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development 2008 (4) SA 458 (CC) which emphasised the respect and reverence for the constitutional guarantee of personal liberty, and De Klerk v Minister of Police 2018 (2) SACR 28 (SCA) as well as the recent Constitutional Court judgment in the same case – De Klerk v Minister of Police 2020 (1) SACR 1 (CC); [2019] ZACC 32 (22 August 2019) – were among a host of important cases discussed. The Supreme Court of Appeal cases on quantification of damages for wrongful arrest and detention also discussed include: Mashilo v Prinsloo 2013 (2) SACR 648 (SCA); Minister of Police v Zweni (842/2017) [2018] ZASCA 97 (1 June 2018); Minister of Safety and Security v Magagula (991/2016) [2017] ZASCA 103 (6 September 2017). The first section of this part continues with the discussion of the other instances not involving failure to take the detainee to court within 48 hours or consequences of the accused person’s first appearance in court whereby Hendricks v Minister of Safety and Security (CA&R/2015) [2015] ZAECGHC 61 (4 June 2015); Mrasi v Minister of Safety and Security 2015 (2) SACR 28 (ECG); and Ramphal v Minister of Safety and Security 2009 (1) SACR 211 (E) are among the cases discussed. The second limb of the discussion in this part concerns the issue of wrongful arrest and detention under the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 where the law has developed side by side with the traditional law of wrongful arrest and police negligence as illustrated by the case of Naidoo v Minister of Police 2016 (1) SACR 468 (SCA).