n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - Sentencing in South Africa : lacking in principle but delivering justice?

Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



The article considers the current state of sentencing in South Africa, based on the judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal in <I>S v Ferreira</I>, a case that attracted considerable media attention. Having explained the principles on which the various sentences in this case are based, two considerations are identified which, although not immediately evident, nevertheless prevent sentencing in South Africa from being more principled and less intuitive. The first consideration is the role of the sentencing discretion, and the problems that our courts experience in separating the fact-finding phase from the decision-making phase. The second consideration is that most role players in the criminal justice system have been schooled in the adversarial trial system, and have difficulty dealing with the more inquisitorial procedure required during sentencing. These considerations clearly impacted upon this judgment as well. Finally, certain recommendations are made as to how the basic principles of sentencing could be utilised to ensure more principled sentencing outcomes.

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