Stealing to survive is not a crime in SA
30 October 2015, 09:25
Cape Town – The criminal matters amendment bill should make a clear distinction between stealing to survive and vandalism of essential infrastructure, the EFF said on Thursday.
The bill would make it a crime for people to try and survive when the state was failing them, Economic Freedom Fighters MP Nicholous Khoza argued during debate on the legislation in the National Assembly.
It aims to introduce harsher sentences for the destruction of essential infrastructure and impose stricter bail conditions.
Most parties, except the EFF, supported the bill. It was referred to the National Council of Provinces.
"It is an offence against the people when the state does not refurbish or expand its ageing water infrastructure," Khoza said.
Residents of the Kayamandi informal settlement near Stellenbosch who vandalised the water pipes that supplied the town's rich white residents, when they had no water themselves, would be jailed for 30 years if the bill was signed into law, he argued.
The same would apply to people without access to electricity who stole power cables supplying Cape Town International Airport.
The bill should make a clear distinction between survival-based theft and vandalism of essential infrastructure.
Government's tendency to make it a crime to resort to extraordinary means to earn a living was pathetic, he said.