Consider children first, ConCourt hears

2012-03-08 17:29
Johannesburg - The circumstances of the children whose parents ran a shebeen from home should be a priority in reviewing the State's seizure of their house, the Constitutional Court heard on Thursday.

This was the submission of the Centre for Child Law, appearing as a friend of the court in Johannesburg.

The matter involves an Athlone, Cape Town, family whose house was forfeited to the State in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

The family is applying for leave to appeal against the forfeiture order that was granted by the Western Cape High Court. That court considered the house an "instrument" of organised crime.

The centre said neither the Western Cape High Court, nor the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions appeared to have taken section 28 of the Constitution into account.

They failed to consider the potential impact of the forfeiture on the children's right to shelter and a family life.

Raylene Keightley, for the centre, said until there was clarity on what the situation was with the children, even the Constitutional Court would not be able to hand down a ruling on the matter.

The applicants' lawyer Anton Katz said forfeiting the house was not proportionate to what the family had been doing.

He asked why, in spite of 52 police search-and-seizure operations, the shebeen kept on trading.

The hearing continues.

Read more on:    cape town

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