S v Vananda

  • This case dealt with the appropriateness of a life sentence handed down to a 21 year old offender who was convicted of murder in relation to whether the trial court had erred in not attaching any weight to the exculpatory parts of the Appellants statement. However the court held that such did not amount to a confession and rather the exculpatory parts amount to extra curial admission on the part of the accused.
  • The court held that when the trial court arrived at sentencing such was a balanced conclusion having taken many factors into account.
  • On appeal the court held that even though the accused was a minor, the accused had a propensity to commit crimes of a violent nature coupled with the aggravating circumstances in this case, namely the strangulation of an elderly person coupled with robbery, warranted the imposition of a term of life imprisonment. The appellant did not show any form of genuine remorse but rather tried to downplay the role he played in the commission of the offence.

S v Dalindyebo

  • The case at hand dealt with the accused’s actions of destroying many of his subjects houses and severely assaulting some of his subjects. The accused states he could not be convicted as the houses which were destroyed were on land owned by him and thus acceded to the land.
  • The court rejected such an argument and held that a person may be guilty of the crime of arson even where they set fire to their own immoveable property with the intent to injure another.
  • In relation to the imposition of a sentence, the court held that many factors have to be taken into account. In the circumstances the abuse of the accused’s position of authority was held to be shameful coupled with the commission of heinous crimes. The court held such called for a severe sentence which in this instance was  sentencing of an effective term of 12 years imprisonment.

S v DJ

  • The case at hand dealt with the replacing of sentences with a plea-and-sentence agreement, in terms of which the presiding officer failed to inform the parties that he believed the sentence contained within the plea agreement was unjust and inform them what he believed was just, contra to what was required of section 105A of the Criminal Procedure Act.
  • In the plea-and-sentence agreement both parties, the appellant and her husband, had plead guilty and agreed to be sentenced as follows. She would be sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for murder and 3 years for child abuse. The husband would be sentenced to 12 years for culpable homicide conditionally suspended for 3 years.
  • The trial judge in this case did not impose these sentences,  but merely replaced the sentence with what he thought was just, in this case 15 years, 3 of which were conditionally suspended for both parties. This was then appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
  • The Supreme Court of Appeal held that section 105A of the Criminal Procedure Act is peremptory in nature and that the failure to comply with it amounted to a gross irregularity. Thus the court set aside both the convictions and sentences and remitted the matter to start de novo.

Wickham v Magistrate, Stellenbosch and Others

  • The case at hand dealt with a review of a conviction and sentence on the ground that the Director of Public Prosecutions improperly entered into a plea and sentence agreement, in terms of section 105A of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977. by there Director not specifying an aggravating factor in the agreement, failing to attach a victim impact statement and actively seeking to exclude the applicants participation in the proceedings as a victim.
  • The court held that in such instances the Prosecutor has a peremptory duty to afford the complainant an opportunity to make representations but only where it would be reasonable to do so, failing of which would create a ground of review.
  • The court went onto note that the correct time for doing such would be prior to its contents being disclosed in court. In the instances the applicant had failed to prove that an opportunity to make resporesentations had not been afforded and was thus the claim was dismissed.

S v Coetzee

  • This case dealt with the sexual abuse, assault and rape of children together with the production of child pornography whereby the accused was sentenced to life imprisonment in accordance with section 51(1) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1997. This was then appealed
  • In the High Court, it was recommended by a clinical psychologist that the appellant undergo intensive psychotherapy in order to assist the accused in rehabilitation.
  • The court held in relation to sentencing the court held the accused had co-operated, plead guilty together with the mitigating factors were utilised in demonstrating that a life sentence would not be appropriate but that in any event a lengthy sentence would be required.
  • The court therefore sentenced the appellant to 24 years imprisonment.

S v De Villiers

  • The case at hand dealt with a woman who was convicted of fraud. She was the primary caregiver of two children. She was subsequently sentenced to a period of direct imprisonment. This was then appealed.
  • The Supreme Court of Appeal held that the court a quo had misdirected itself by not taking into account that the mother was a primary caregiver of the two children and such would a period of direct imprisonment would be detrimental to her children.
  • The court therefore held that it would be justifiable to replace the term of direct imprisonment with that of correctional supervision under section 276(1)(i) of the Criminal Procedure Act.


S v Tladi and Others


  • This case dealt with an appeal of three accused in relation to the vast differences between sentencing of offenders who committed a common offence together. The three accused were aged 28, 18 and 19 years old.
  • The Court held that there was nothing which could justify the differences in sentencing between the second and third appellants for the same offence committed by both, namely that of rape, and that 15 years imprisonment, what the third appellant was originally sentenced to, would be appropriate sentences for both the second and third appellant.
  • However with regards to the first appellant, the fact of his mature age, together with the fact that the first appellant had not only attacked the victim’s boyfriend but taken the victim to another house to rape her again was therefore appropriate justification for the sentence of life imprisonment.

DPP Western Cape v Kock

  • This case dealt with the appeal of a conviction of 5 years imprisonment wholly suspended for five years in relation to a first time offender convicted of fraud.
  • The Supreme Court of Appeal held that when dealing with first time offenders in relation to white-collar crimes, sentences of periods of imprisonment ought to only be imposed where suitable.
  • In this instance, the court noted that one could not appeal the sentence imposed by a High Court which was sitting as a court of Appeal, and thus dismissed the appeal.

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