Statutory Law

In those instances where common law did not provide for situations which had cropped up in our modern society, the State stepped in and promulgated statutes to deal with these situations.

By far the majority of crimes in our criminal law have been created by statute.

Whenever one wishes to establish exactly what our law provides on a specific topic, it is always the safest to ascertain whether there is any statute which deals with that topic. If no such statute exists, one would have to turn to common law for a solution to the problem.

The statutory sources of our law are :
(a) statutes adopted by the Parliament of the Republic. Parliament is the supreme legislative authority;
(b) statutes of the various former Republics and colonies before they were included in the Union of South Africa (in so far as they had not been repealed or amended);
(c) ordinances, proclamations and regulations of the various provincial authorities;
(d) city councils, municipalities, divisional councils and village management boards are subordinate legislative bodies authorised to pass by-laws and regulations. The by-laws and regulations (eg. traffic regulations) are
adopted with the consent of the Administrator of the province;
(e) proclamations and regulations which have been promulgated by the State President, Ministers and Administrators of provinces.

Legislation is now the only manner in which new crimes may be created in South Africa.

The common law crimes have long ago assumed a definitive character and new crimes can no longer be created by custom or usage.

The purpose of statutory law is to satisfy the changing needs and demands of the country.

Statutory laws are acts, ordinances and by-laws introduced by bodies with legislation powers.

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