oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - The nature of the crime of arson in South African law

Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-545X
  • E-ISSN: 2411-7870



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: either to property or persons or both. Although the crime is traditionally classified as a crime against property, this article points out that it has been recognised, in the common-law sources upon which the crime is based, that the crime also protects the community. In this regard the use of the crime to punish the fire-setter who sets his or her own property alight, foreseeing that the fire may endanger the interests of others, is highlighted. This aspect of the crime derives from common-law sources, and has been recognised in the courts, but as yet has been sporadically acknowledged and applied by academic writers and in practice. It is submitted that such intentional conduct ought to be reflected in the definition of arson.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error