Arson is a crime, and may land you in prison

Arson is a crime, and may land you in prison

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GK CRONJE

4 May 2021

The imprisonment term for a convicted crime relating to arson could be set up to seven years or more, and a fine of up to R250 000, and four years of probation.

The crime of arson is committed in a number of different ways in the South African context. However, what is common to all incidences of the crime is that it causes danger to property, wildlife and persons. Although the act of arson is classified as a crime against property, the crime also endangers the community. Arson is the act whereby a person sets the fire, or intends to start a fire, knowing that the fire will destroy something. The majority of arson crimes are classified as intentional, wilfully and maliciously. This means that the arsonist has the intent to cause damage upon starting the fire. It does not require targeted property to be damaged by the fire, and liability can attach even though the “wrong” property caught fire.

Though the act typically involves buildings, the term arson can also refer to the intentional burning of fields, dry grass and leaves, which is a common sight in Ermelo. The crime is typically classified as a felony, with instances involving a greater degree of risk to human life or property carrying a stricter penalty. The imprisonment term for a convicted crime relating to arson could be set up to seven years or more, and a fine of up to R250 000, and four years of probation. If you see a suspected arsonist in your ward or area, please contact ACSU, the SAPS or your neighborhood watch, such as SACCW, immediately. Where possible, obtain photographs or video footage of the suspect in the act, as this will make conviction of the felon easier.