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Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977)

Chapter 28 : Sentence

287. Imprisonment in default of payment of fine


(1) Whenever a court convicts a person of any offence punishable by a fine (whether with or without any other direct or alternative punishment), it may, in imposing a fine upon such person, impose, as a punishment alternative to such fine, a sentence of imprisonment of any period within the limits of its jurisdiction: Provided that, subject to the provisions of subsection (3), the period of such alternative sentence of imprisonment shall not, either alone or together with any period of imprisonment imposed as a direct punishment, exceed the longest period of imprisonment prescribed by any law as a punishment (whether direct or alternative) for such offence.


(2) Whenever a court has imposed upon any person a fine without an alternative sentence of imprisonment and the fine is not paid in full or is not recovered in full in terms of section 288, the court which passed sentence on such person (or if that court was a circuit local division of the Supreme Court, then the provincial or local division of the Supreme Court within whose area of jurisdiction such sentence was imposed) may issue a warrant directing that he be arrested and brought before the court, which may thereupon sentence him to such term of imprisonment as could have been imposed upon him as an alternative punishment in terms of subsection (1).


(3) Whenever by any law passed before the date of commencement of the General Law Amendment Act, 1935 (Act No. 46 of 1935), a court is empowered to impose upon a person convicted by such court of an offence, a sentence of imprisonment (whether direct or as an alternative to a fine) of a duration proportionate to the sum of a fine, that court may, notwithstanding such law, impose upon any person convicted of such offence in lieu of a sentence of imprisonment which is proportionate as aforesaid, any sentence of imprisonment within the limits of the jurisdiction of the court.


(4) Unless the court which has imposed a period of imprisonment as an alternative to a fine has directed otherwise, the Commissioner or a parole board may in his or its discretion at the commencement of the alternative punishment or at any point thereafter, if it does not exceed five years—
(a) act as if the person were sentenced to imprisonment as referred to in section 276(1)(i); or
(b) apply in accordance with the provisions of section 276A(3) for the sentence to be reconsidered by the court a quo, and thereupon the provisions of section 276A(3) shall apply mutatis mutandis to such a case.

[Section 287(4) substituted by section 23 of Act No. 87 of 1997]