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Commission for Gender Equality Act, 1996 (Act No. 39 of 1996)

13. Entering and search of premises and attachment and removal of articles



(1) Any member of the Commission or a police officer authorised thereto by a member of the Commission may, for the purposes of exercising the powers and performing the functions mentioned in section 11, on the authority of a warrant issued in terms of subsection (5), search any person or enter and search any premises on which anything connected with an investigation is or is suspected to be.


(2) The entry and search of any person or premises under this section shall be conducted with strict regard to decency and order, including the protection of a person's right to—
(a) respect for his or her dignity;
(b) freedom and security; and
(c) his or her personal privacy.


(3) A member or police officer contemplated in subsection (1) may, subject to the provisions of this section—
(a) inspect and search the person or premises in question, and there make such enquiries as he or she may deem necessary;
(b) examine any article or document found on the person or premises;
(c) request information regarding such article or document from the owner or person in control of the premises or from any person in whose possession or control that article or document is, or who may reasonably be expected to have the necessary information;
(d) make copies of or take extracts from any book or document found on the person or premises;
(e) attach anything on the person or premises which has a bearing on the investigation;
(f) if he or she wishes to retain anything contemplated in paragraph (e) for further examination or for safe custody, remove it from the person or premises against the issue of a receipt: Provided that any article that has been so removed, shall be returned as soon as possible after the purpose for which it was removed has been achieved: Provided further that if there is no person present to receive the receipt when it is issued, it shall be affixed to a prominent place on the premises.


(4) Any person from whom information is required in terms of subsection (3) (a) and (c) may be assisted in supplying the information by a legal representative and shall be so informed before being required to give such information.


(a) A warrant referred to in subsection (1) shall only be issued by a magistrate, or a judge of the Supreme Court, if it appears to such magistrate or judge from information on oath that there are reasonable grounds for believing that any article or document, which has a bearing on the investigation is in the possession or under the control of any person or on any premises within the area of jurisdiction of such magistrate or judge and cannot reasonably be obtained in any other manner.
(b) A warrant referred to in subsection (1) shall be executed by day.
(c) A warrant referred to in subsection (1) may be issued on any day and shall be of force until—
(i) it is executed; or
(ii) it is cancelled by the person who issued it or, if such person is not available, by any person with like authority; or
(iii) the expiry of one month from the day of its issue,

whichever may occur first.

(d) A person executing a warrant under this section shall, at the commencement of such search, hand the person referred to in the warrant or the owner or the person in control of the premises, if such a person is present, a copy of the warrant: Provided that if no such person is present, he or she shall affix a copy of the warrant to the premises at a prominent and visible place.
(e) A person executing a warrant under this section shall, at the commencement of such execution, identify himself or herself and if that person requires authorisation to execute a warrant under this section, the particulars of such authorisation shall also be furnished.


(a) A person who may lawfully under this section enter and search any premises may use such force as may be necessary to overcome any resistance against such entry and search of the premises, including the breaking of any door or window of such premises: Provided that such person shall first audibly demand admission to the premises and notify the purpose for which he or she seeks to enter and search such premises.
(b) The proviso to paragraph (a) shall not apply where the person concerned is on reasonable grounds of the opinion that any article or document which is the subject of the search may be destroyed, disposed of or tampered with if the provisions of the said proviso are complied with.


(7) If during the execution of a warrant in terms of subsection (5), a person claims that an article or document found on the person or premises contains privileged information and refuses the inspection or removal of such article or document, the person executing the warrant may request the registrar of the Supreme Court which has jurisdiction or his or her delegate, to attach and remove that article or document for safe custody until a court of law has made a ruling on the question whether or not the information in question is privileged.