Dangerous weapons bill criticised

2011-09-26 11:36
Cape Town - A bill outlawing toy guns, pepper spray, knives and other "dangerous weapons" in public places is on its way to Parliament.

Die Burger
newspaper reported on Monday that people found with certain objects in "suspicious circumstances" will not be able to use self defence as an argument in court and could face up to three years in prison.

Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald criticised the draft dangerous weapons bill, which was published recently in the government gazette.

The proposed law, he said, would allow the police to arrest people "left and right".

"The fact that you will not be able to use self defence as a defence also makes the bill unconstitutional," he said.

The bill defines a dangerous weapon as "any object" that cause injury or have the ability to take a person temporarily "out of action".

It says that an object can be classified as dangerous even if there is a suspicion or fear that someone may be injured.

"A woman walking late at night with pepper spray in her purse could also be rounded up because she might not be able to argue that the spray is for self defence," Groenewald said.

The public has until Sunday to comment on the draft bill.

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