What the law states according to SA

A person who is in possession of child pornography knowing of its pornographic nature or intending to obtain access to a child pornography, obtains access to child pornography or takes a step towards obtaining access to child pornography will be guilt of an offence. 

A child is defined as a child under, or apparently under, the age of 17 years. 

First offence

  • The maximum penalty for a basic offence is five years imprisonment
  • The maximum penalty for an aggravated offence is seven years imprisonment

Subsequent offence

  • The maximum penalty for a subsequent basic offence is seven years imprisonment
  • The maximum penalty for a subsequent aggravated offence is ten years imprisonment

The prosecution must prove that you had:

  • possession
  • intention

It may be a defence to the charge if:

  • The material was unsolicited and as soon as you became aware of the pornographic nature reasonable steps were taken to get rid of it.
  • There was a lack of intent
  • you did not have possession
  • you had an honest and reasonable mistake of fact, e.g. Believing that person depicted in the images are over the age of 17 years.