n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - Corporate criminal liability in South Africa : time for change? (part 1)

Volume 2011, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0257-7747
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2207



South Africa experiences vast corporate activity and development. An adverse consequence of this is the proliferation of severe corporate criminality. There is rising consensus among corporate criminologists and academics that corporate crime inflicts more damage on society than all street crime combined. It is therefore crucial that adequate measures should be in place for the liability of corporate offenders. If legislation is inadequate, reform is of the utmost importance.

Corporate criminal liability in South Africa is mainly regulated by section 332 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, which is headed "Prosecutions of corporations and members of associations". Although there may be various difficulties and questions regarding section 332 as a whole, the scope of this article is confined to matters arising from section 332(1). In short, section 332(1) allows for a corporate body to be held vicariously liable for crimes committed by directors or servants, acting within the scope of their employment or authority, or while furthering the interests of the corporate body. It has been argued that "in South Africa, the theory behind corporate responsibility and the translation of this theory into a realistic form of corporate responsibility is in desperate need of review."

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