O7. The Prevention of Organised Crime Act, 121 Of 1998

Purpose of the Act

To introduce measures to combat organised crime, money laundering and criminal gang activities; to prohibit certain activities relating to racketeering activities; to provide for the prohibition of money laundering and for an obligation to report certain information; to criminalise certain activities associated with gangs; to provide for the recovery of the proceeds of unlawful activity; for the civil forfeiture of criminal property that has been used to commit an offence, property that is the proceeds of unlawful activity or property that is owned or controlled by, or on behalf of, an entity involved in terrorist and related activities; to provide for the establishment of a Criminal Assets Recovery Account; to amend the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act, 1992; to amend the International Co-operation in Criminal Matters Act, 1996; to repeal the Proceeds of Crime Act, 1996; to incorporate the provisions contained in the Proceeds of Crime Act, 1996; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

The constitution enshrines the rights of all people. The right to safety and security are some of the most fundamental human rights encompassed in our country’s constitution, however, at the time that this act was brought into effect there was no law in place to effectively deal with organised crime. It was because of this and the government’s aim to combat organised crime that The Prevention of Organised Crime Act was enacted.

The act deals with the following crimes:

1. Offences relating to racketeering activities

Racketeering refers to a person being in possession of property that they know is linked to unlawful business activity. A person convicted of such a crime can be fined up to one million or be imprisoned for life.

2. Offences relating to proceeds of unlawful activities

These activities include; money laundering, assisting another to benefit from proceeds of unlawful activities and acquisition, possession or use of proceeds of unlawful activities.  A person convicted can be liable to a fine not exceeding R10 million, or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 30 years.

3. Offences relating to criminal gang activities

A person convicted can also be liable to a fine or imprisonment for a time determined by the offence.

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