Protecting animals from mistreatment through private prosecutions in South Africa: A comment on National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development 2016 1 SACR 308 (SCA)

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    The general rule in South Africa is that, when an offence is committed, the suspect has to be prosecuted by a public prosecutor. However, there is an exception whereby a victim of crime is permitted to institute a private prosecution if the prosecutor has declined to prosecute. South African law allows natural, but not juristic, persons to institute private prosecutions. In the case examined in this note, the appellant argued that the law prohibiting juristic persons from instituting private prosecutions is discriminatory. The Supreme Court of Appeal held that private prosecutions are only permitted on grounds of direct infringement of human dignity. This note argues that section 7 of the Criminal Procedure Act is unconstitutional for excluding juristic persons from instituting private prosecutions and recommends steps the appellant could take to institute private prosecutions against those who mistreat animals.