Children's Amendment Draft Bill [PMB3-2014]

Call for comments opened 21 November 2014 Share this page:

Social Development

Notice is given that Michael Waters MP intends introducing a private member's bill shortly in order to amend the Children's Act (No. 38 of 2005) to make provision for the inclusion of certain further offences that would deem a person unsuitable to work with children, and comments are requested.

A copy of the draft Children's Amendment Bill and a memorandum setting out its objectives are included in the schedule to this notice in fulfillment of the requirements of Rule 241(1)(c) of the Rules of the National Assembly.

Bill seeks to amend the Children's Act, 2005 (No. 38 of 2005) so as to:
▪ provide that a person, other than a child, convicted of any offence against a child in terms of the Sexual Offences Act, 1957 (Act No. 23 of 1957) or the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act No. 32 of 2007), be deemed to be found unsuitable to work with children;
▪ provide that in respect of a child convicted of certain offences against a child, a finding of unsuitability may be made only after representations have been heard and the best interests of the child have been considered;
▪ deem persons convicted of any offence in terms of the Sexual Offences Act, 1957 (Act No. 23 of 1957), the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act No. 32 of 2007) or certain common law offences against a child during the five years preceding the commencement of section 120 of the Children's Act, 2005 unsuitable to work with children unless such person was a child at the time of the commission of the offence;
▪ provide that where a child was convicted of certain offences five years preceding the commencement of section 120, application can be made to a court to make a finding of unsuitability to work with children.

Interested parties and institutions are invited to submit written representations on the draft bill.

Comments can be emailed to Ms B Tyawa at btyawa@parliament.gov.za and copied to veeralp@da.org.za by no later than Wednesday, 17 December 2014.

Background
Part B of the Child Protection Register was introduced to protect children from people who have been found unsuitable to work with them. At present, the Children's Act, 2005, (Act No. 38 of 2005) ("the Act"), determines that such people include those convicted of murder, attempted murder, rape, indecent assault or assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm with regards to a child. The Act, however, does not make provision for the offences against children which are contained in the Sexual Offences Act, 1923 (Act No. 23 of 1957) and in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act No. 32 of 2007). These offences ought to be added to the offences listed in the Act that constitute a disqualification when it comes to working with children. In addition, differentiation must also be made between adult and child offenders when criminal courts make findings of unsuitability to work with children, so as to bring the Act in line with the recent Constitutional Court finding in J v NDPP and another, 2014, CCT 114/13.