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Part of Customs & Excise Act unconstitutional

Sars will now require a warrant for searches of private residences.

Sars will now require a warrant for searches of private residences. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled that a section of the Customs and Excise Act allowing the South African Revenue Service (Sars) to search certain properties without a warrant is unconstitutional.

Judges say Parliament now has six months to change the law.

In a unanimous judgment, the top court says this section of the Customs and Excise Act infringes the right to privacy without proper justification.

It says the section does not define which premises can be searched without a warrant.

The act does not guide Sars inspectors on how they should conduct those searches.

While Parliament is considering changes to the law, judges said a warrant will now be required for searches of private residences by Sars.