Dangerous Weapons Act Criminalises Carrying Dangerous Objects in Public
Media Release by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
Following recent strike action across the Western Cape, I strongly urge citizens to be aware that carrying dangerous weapons in public is illegal and any person found doing so is liable to a sentence of up to three years imprisonment.
I have been informed by members of the public that in some cases those participating in strike action have been brandishing items considered to be dangerous weapons. This is now against the law.
While the right to protest is respected and firmly entrenched in our Constitution, there is no right to violent protest.
The Dangerous Weapons Act, signed into law by President Zuma less than two months ago, criminalises carrying dangerous weapons in public. A “dangerous weapon” according to the new Act is “any object, other than a firearm, capable of causing death or inflicting serious bodily harm, if it were used for an unlawful purpose.”
I note the statement by the South African Police Service this week, encouraging people not to participate in marches and events that do not have the required permission. It furthermore requested members of the public “not to carry any illegal and dangerous weapons in public or during illegal marches. It has come to the attention of the police that damages to property have been reported during protests marches. In terms of Dangerous Weapons Act, 2013 a person is liable upon conviction to a sentence not exceeding three years' imprisonment for carrying dangerous weapon.”