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Intimidation

Most of us have endured or experienced some form of bullying or teasing in our lives. It’s not that pleasant, and has varying degrees of severity and consequences. When the perpetrator of this conduct has motive (other than just being a bully), generally, it becomes intimidation.

This is played out, unfortunately, in political elections worldwide. But the underworld of crime, gangsterism, mafia-type protectionism, and so forth is home to intimidation as well.

The Intimidation Act 19821 prohibits certain forms of intimidation, and provides for matters in that regard. It is administered by the Minister of Police.

  1. It is a criminal offence to assault, injure or cause damage to any person in order to compel or induce him (or persons of a particular nature, class or kind, or person in general) to do or to abstain from doing any act, or to assume or to abandon a particular standpoint.2

  2. It is an offence to threaten anybody, physically, for the same purpose.3

  3. It is also a crime to:4
    • commit an act of violence (whether to person or property) or threaten or attempt to do so;
    • perform any act aimed at causing or promoting such acts of violence;
    • conspire with others for that purpose;
    • incite, instigate, advise, assist, encourage or procure any other person to perform such acts or threats,

    in order to put fear into, or demoralise, or induce the general public (or a section of the population or the inhabitants of a particular area) to do, or refrain from doing something.

  4. It is an offence to act in a manner that causes another person to fear for his own safety or his property or that of another person.5
  1. As amended; the latest amendment was effected by way of Act 126 of 1992. 

  2. Section 1(a)(i). 

  3. Section 1(a)(ii). 

  4. Section 1A(1). 

  5. Section 1(b).