By Sanette Viljoen
Am I obliged to help the SAPS in their investigations? To what extent am I obliged to help?
As a general rule you have no obligation to help by reporting crime and literally putting yourself forward.
The only exception to this rule is section 41 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which makes it compulsory for you to reveal your address and identity when requested by the police to do so.
People often do not want to make their identity known to the police because they are scared of getting involved in court cases in which they do not want be involved. The Civil Procedure Act, however, obliges you to reveal your identity when asked to do so by the police.
If you do not do this the police may, in certain circumstances, enter your premises and arrest you. When this happens, you again have the option of providing the information or not. The police may detain you for 12 hours. If you then provide the information, it is fine but if you still do not provide it, you are committing an offence for which you may be sentenced to three months imprisonment.
The question now is what are premises? This question is asked because there is also a principle in law to the effect that if you are in a private residence, the police may in such circumstances not obtain access to your “premises” without knocking and stating why they are there and the purpose of their entry.
The definition of “premises” includes your boat, airplane, stand, house, etc., with of course the above prerequisite when it comes to your private residence.
The definition of a “premises is therefore very wide and the police may enter any of your “premises” to obtain your information.