Restorative Justice Gaining Support in South Africa

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1 Introduction Punishment is central to any legal proceeding where the accused is found guilty. It falls directly under criminal law and is determined by punishment theories. Whether South Africa is moving towards restorative justice approaches influences many aspects: it allows protection of society and results in more crime-free life for the offender. Consequently, it gives offenders the chance to learn from their experiences, gain insight into their behaviour and allows victims to handle their injustice. If South Africa is truly moving towards applying restorative justice principles in the resolution of disputes it will be evident in the legislation and recent case law in different fields; including crimes of child offenders, less…show more content…
In S v Shilubane the offender was originally sentenced to nine months in prison due to the theft of seven fowls, but at review the sentence was set aside and replaced with a suspended sentence that was “in line with the new philosophy on restorative justice.” 5 Serious crimes Restorative justice is most suitable for cases that involve an identifiable victim who have suffered a crime of dishonesty and violence, as it allows the victim and the offender to rectify the imbalances and aid in coming to terms with the injustice. In the case of S v Maluleke offender received a suspended sentence after being found guilty of murder. The reason for this unusual sentence was because the mother of the victim only wanted the offender to show her remorse and apologise for her wrongdoing. Showing that legislation should not “deter courts from investigating…[and] introducing…alternative sentences into our criminal justice system.” It should be important to consider that “when nothing is to be gained by punishment, it should not be imposed even…when it is deserved.” Nevertheless, section 51 is a specific provision in the Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 1997 that describes discretionary minimum sentences for certain serious offences; including murder and rape. In S v Matyityi it was found that there was no “substantial and compelling circumstances” that justify a lesser sentence than
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