17 May 2012

South Africa: MEC Condemns Sexual Offences Act

Photo: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
A judge and lawyers in court.

Sexual offenders may get off scot-free as some offences under the Sexual Offences Act have no penalty, Western Cape MEC Albert Fritz said on Thursday.

"Of the 29 sexual offences described in chapters 2, 3 and 4 of the Sexual Offences Act, none carries any penalty. In other words, these heinous crimes are not punishable in law," he said.

"This is a gross oversight and an affront on the rights of women and children to be protected from sexual predators."

On Friday, the Western Cape High Court upheld a decision by the Riversdale Magistrate's Court that a man who forcibly fondled a woman could not be sentenced because the behaviour had no penalty under the act.

Other offences without a penalty are sexual assault, consensual sexual acts with children, sexual exploitation and grooming of children, and sexual offences against mentally disabled people, said Fritz.

He said the high court also found there was no recourse to the common law as the equivalent common law crimes were ousted by the Sexual Offences Act.

"We need legislation that protects vulnerable citizens, with strong enough punitive measures to deter would-be offenders."

The MEC had requested an urgent meeting with Justice Minister Jeff Radebe to discuss the act.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2012 South African Press Association. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.