NEW DANGEROUS WEAPONS ACT, 2013 (ACT NO. 15 OF 2013) WHICH WILL COME INTO OPERATION ON 2 JANUARY 2014
To regulate and provide certain prohibitions in respect of the possession of dangerous weapons, the Dangerous Weapons Act, 2013 (Act No.15 of 2013) was assented to by the President of the Republic of South Africa on 24 July 2013.
The said Act repeals the Dangerous Weapons Act in force in the Republic of South Africa as it was constituted before 27 April 1994, as well as the Dangerous Weapons Acts in force in the former territories of Transkei, Ciskei, Venda and Bophuthatswana and is a single Act regulating dangerous weapons uniformly in the whole of the Republic of South Africa.
The new Dangerous Weapons Act stipulates that it is a criminal offence to possess a dangerous weapon with the intention of committing an unlawful act. If the possession of a dangerous weapon raises a reasonable suspicion that the person intends to use the dangerous weapon to commit an unlawful act, the person may be found guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to be imprisoned for a period not exceeding three (3) years.
The Dangerous Weapons Act, 2013 also amends section 8(4) of the Regulation of Gatherings Act, 1993 in order to entrench the Constitutional right to security and the right to be free from all forms of violence. Section 17 of the Constitution guarantees the right to, peacefully and unarmed, assemble, demonstrate, picket and present petitions.
According to section 8(4) of the Regulation of Gatherings Act as amended by the new Dangerous Weapons Act, 2013 (Act no. 15 of 2013), it is a criminal offence during a gathering or demonstration as defined in the Regulation of Gatherings Act, 1993, for a person to have in his or her possession, as from the 2nd of January 2014:
· any dangerous weapon;
· any airgun, firearm, imitation firearm or muzzle loading firearm; or
· any object which resembles a firearm and that is likely to be mistaken for a firearm.
The mere possession of the dangerous weapon or any of the above objects during a gathering or demonstration constitutes an offence.
More information regarding the Dangerous Weapons Act, 2013 (Act no. 15 of 2013), is available on the following website – www.saps.gov.za.
Information and examples on what a dangerous weapon is as well as what factors should be considered to determine whether a person in possession of an object intends to use it for an unlawful purpose, will soon be communicated in similar follow- up messages.
If a member of the public sees a person in possession of a dangerous weapon and suspects that the person intends to use that dangerous weapon to commit an unlawful act, they may call SAPS CRIME STOP / TIP OFF 08600 10111.
REMEMBER: Possession of a dangerous weapon under circumstances which may raise a reasonable suspicion that the person intends to use the dangerous weapon for an unlawful purpose constitutes a crime.
ALL EXISTING LEGISLATION PERTAINING TO DANGEROUS WEAPONS REMAINS IN FORCE UNTIL 24:00 ON THE 1ST OF JANUARY 2014 AFTER WHICH THAT LEGISLATION WILL BE REPEALED BY THE DANGEROUS WEAPONS ACT, 2013