Theft is the unlawful appropriation of moveable corporeal property belonging to another with the intent to deprive the owner permanently of the property.

Snyman Criminal Law (2002)

Snyman defines theft as: “A person commits theft if he unlawfully and intentionally appropriates movable, corporeal property which (a) belongs to, and is in the possession of, another (b) belongs to another but is in the perpetrator’s own possession; or (c) belongs to the perpetrator but is in another’s possession and such other person has a right to possess it which legally prevails against the perpetrator’s own right of possession provided that the intention to appropriate the property includes an intention permanently to deprive the person entitled to the possession of the property, of such property”.

The elements of theft consist of:

  • an act of appropriation;
  • a certain type of property;
  • unlawfulness;
  • intention, including an intention to appropriate.

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