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.

  • Ben - 2012-03-08 17:49

    Tough one. What is the future of children like if the father is jailed for 20 years.

      Francois - 2012-03-08 19:55

      Ben, it goes beyond that. What if this becomes a legal defence. Then the children will be more exploited than ever! A shebeen owner will then either have children, kidnap them, steal them and argue that we should think of the rights of the children. Don't you think that this is case that the parents showed that they cannot look after the children and we have a duty as society to look after them?

      Ben - 2012-03-08 20:09

      Right. No matter what the court decides with all crimes the sentence have a bearing on the children but they are the innocent ones. Life is just not fair.

      Lacrimose - 2012-03-08 20:24

      What is their children's life right now? Exposed to crime and illegal drinking every day and having their home raided by the cops 52 times?

  • dave.leverton - 2012-03-08 18:35

    When did these parents consider the children ? 60 arrests and they are still crying for their rights ?

  • Ali - 2012-03-08 19:40

    So if the bank wants to take my house then I can tune the same story, and tell them it's unconstitutional?

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