Grass Fires Act
Act 44 of 1955
- Commenced on 13 May 1955
- [This is the version of this document at 1 December 1998.]
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Grass Fires Act.
2. InterpretationIn this Act unless the context otherwise requires—"child" means any person who, in the opinion of the court, is under the age of fourteen years;"fire-break" means a strip of land which has been cleared of inflammable material to prevent the spread of veld fires;"land" means any part of the surface of Swaziland;"occupier" means—(a)in relation to land which is not Swazi nation land, the person in actual occupation thereof, whether as owner or lessee, or as having charge thereof on behalf of the owner or lessee;(b)in relation to Swazi nation land, the chief, induna, headman or other person in actual occupation of, and having authority according to Swazi custom over, such land;"owner" includes a lessee or any other person in charge of any land;"sponge" means any area of moist or marshy ground situated so as to form the source or course of, or contribute to, a natural watercourse;"Swazi nation land" includes land to be registered in the name of the Ngwenyama of Swaziland in trust for the Swazi nation.[Amended P.47/1963]
Part I – Offences committed in respect of land by owners or occupiers thereof
3. Prohibition against the burning of grass
4. Permit to fire grassThe Director of Agriculture, or any officer authorised thereto by him may in his discretion and on such conditions as he may think fit, issue a permit authorising an owner or occupier to set fire to any grass or other vegetation in any specified area on any land owned or occupied by him during a specified time:Provided that in the case of Swazi nation land such permit shall be issued by a person appointed for the purpose by the Ngwenyama in Libandhla.
5. Notification of area to be burnt
6. Notice of intention to fire grass
Part II – Offences committed in respect of land by any person
9. Spread of fires started wilfully or negligentlyAny person who wilfully and without lawful authority, or negligently, sets fire to or feeds any fire which by spreading sets fire to any grass on land of which he is not the occupier shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding two hundred rand or in default of payment to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
10. Throwing burning matches and disturbing bees by fire or smokeAny person who, in or on land not belonging to him or lawfully occupied by him wilfully or negligently throws down any burning match or other burning material; or disturbs without lawful authority any swarm of bees by the use of fire or smoke, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding forty rand, or, in default of payment thereof, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two months.
11. Duty to extinguish fires
Part III – Miscellaneous
12. Powers relating to extinguishment of fires
13. Special powers of civil nature
14. Responsibility for child’s conductAny person having the custody of a child and who by his act, omission or neglect has conduced to the commission of an offence under this Act by that child shall be guilty of an offence and be liable on conviction to the penalties prescribed by sections 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 or 11, as the case may be, and may be charged jointly with such child.
15. ProofNotwithstanding any other law if in any proceedings under this Act or at common law the question of negligence in respect of damage from grass fires arises, negligence shall be presumed unless the contrary is proved.
16. Civil liabilitiesNothing in this Act shall affect the right of any person aggrieved to recover damages by civil action for any loss sustained by him:Provided that he shall not have obtained judgment in his favour under section 13, in which case he shall have no further remedy against the person against whom he has obtained such judgment.
17. Powers of Principal SecretaryEvery duty, power and function conferred upon the Director of Agriculture by this Act may be performed and exercised as fully and effectually by the Principal Secretary for Agriculture.
History of this document
13 May 1955