This country has a high violent crime rate. No matter whether you live in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban or other areas where there are large populations of people living, there is no escaping the fact that crime is rife around us.
Many teenagers and young adults are imitating the actions of their “would-be” role models and turning to petty theft and in some cases, rape and murder.
Juvenile crime in South Africa is to be expected
Reason being that children learn from a young age that violence in this country is an acceptable solution for their problems. Do not get us wrong, we love this country and we are not saying that this applies to every child as there are many children that do not commit juvenile crime but there are factors that lead to increasing numbers of children turning to violence and other crimes. Such factors include unemployment, poverty, the availability of guns and drugs. This has meant that SA criminal law is being confronted frequently with younger and younger criminals and as a result there are now special laws pertaining to children.
At present, criminal law follows an elementalogical concept of crime and therefore each crime committed consists of three elements:
- the act
The same applies to juvenile crime in South Africa however there are variations in accountability and negligence that apply to children offenders. These variations are in terms of age. Should a child be under 7 years of age, they are called infants and therefore presumed to be not accountable and therefore cannot acquire criminal liability.
The second age limit is that of 14 years and therefore should a child be between 7 years old and 14 years old, they are presumed to be not accountable. This is however unless the court can prove that the child possessed the mental capacity to realise the wrongfulness of his/her actions.
The third and last age limit is 21 years old. Therefore between the ages of 14 years and 21 years, a child is deemed to be accountable and there in the same position as an adult.
Should you require more information in this regard then the best idea would be to contact a legal professional who can provide you with all the details and regulations on juvenile crime in the country of South Africa.