All visitors have rights

SOUTH Africa is ready for all aspects of the Fifa Soccer World Cup.

SOUTH Africa is ready for all aspects of the Fifa Soccer World Cup.

The Johannesburg Tourism Company and Legal & Tax have teamed up to provide a legal advice phone service to all overseas and local visitors to the city during the tournament.

Sharon Peetz of the Johannesburg Tourism Company said as people are gearing up for soccer and fun, Legal & Tax will be providing a 24-hour legal advice service to all visitors.

Lawyers will offer legal advice on unlawful arrest, car accidents, buying property, immigration and general legal advice.

Benjy Porter, chief executive of Legal & Tax, said they would help people to navigate the country's legal and tax environment

"We look forward to doing our bit as ambassadors for the city and country during the World Cup," Porter said.

To access the service, call 087-803 INFO (+27(0)87-803 4636).

Anyone arrested has legal rights to ensure that they are treated with dignity and that they receive a fair trial.

l Stages of arrest

Detained, arrested, accused.

If you're suspected of committing a crime, the police may arrest and detain until you are granted bail. If you are charged with a crime, you will appear in court. You have a number of rights:

lRights when arrested

You have the right to remain silent and to be informed of this right. No one can force you to say anything or answer any questions that might incriminate you. You have a right to appear in court within 48 hours . The police may not arrest you without a warrant of arrest. Ask to see an order for your arrest .

lRights as a detainee

You are entitled to let your family or friends know that you have been arrested . Your friends, family, doctor and religious counselor should all be allowed to visit you. You are also entitled to contact a lawyer. You may ask the state to appoint a lawyer if you can't afford one. You are entitled to dignified and humane treatment in terms of food and sleeping arrangements.

lRights as the accused

You have a right to a fair and speedy trial You have the right to legal representation . If you can't afford a lawyer, ask the state to assign one to you .

lGranting of bail

The magistrate will usually grant you bail at your first hearing, but if you're arrested on a Wednesday night, you might need to wait until Monday morning to see a magistrate.

l If you are arrested for drunken driving, most traffic offences and possession of a small amount of drugs, a senior police official can set bail, but if you are accused of assault, rape, kidnapping, attempted murder or murder, you will need to appear before a judge before you can be released on bail. - Compiled by Yusuf Boda, legal manager at Legal & Tax.