South Africa: How Effective Would Be Making the National Register for Sexual Offenders Public?

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After a week of protests outside Parliament against gender-based violence and petitions calling for the National Register for Sex Offenders to be made public, President Cyril Ramaphosa says that he will ask Parliament to do so.

In 2007 the National Register for Sex Offenders was established in an effort to "curb the prevalence of sexual offences in South Africa". The register was implemented in 2009 as a means to keep a record of people who have been convicted of raping children or the mentally ill, and those who were accused of raping a child or a mentally ill person but were declared mentally unfit to stand trial. Convicted offenders are not allowed to work with children, adopt, or apply to be foster carers.

In last week's crime statistics, it was recorded that 52,420 sexual offences were reported in the 2018/2019 financial year. Of these cases, 7,680 involved victims who were 19 or younger.

"I started the petition (for the National Register for Sexual Offenders to be made public) the week of Uyinene (Mrwetyana's) passing; I was feeling very helpless and I started thinking of ways that we can help ourselves," said Nelisa Ngqulana, who runs a PR company.

The register...

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