ATC210531: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill [B16– 2020] (National Assembly – section 75), dated 29May 2021
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill [B16– 2020] (National Assembly – section 75), dated 29May 2021
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, having considered the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill [B 16 – 2020], referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) as a section 75 Bill, reports the Bill with amendments[B16A-2020].
The Committee reportsfurther:
- The levels of gender-based violence and femicide in this country are among the highest in the world, and are acknowledged as a second pandemic.
- A Presidential Summit against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) was held in November 2018, resulting in a Declaration which resolved, among others, to:
- Fast track the review of existing laws and policies on gender-based violence to be victim-centred and ensure all other relevant laws respond to GBVF.
- Implement the recommendations that have been identified from reviews and address legislative gaps.
- Revisit and fast track all outstanding laws and bills that relate to GBVF.
- On 18 September 2019, the President expressed the country’s commitment to address the scourge of GBVF and announced an emergency response plan to tackle GBVF, which includes strengthening the applicable legal framework.
- The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill was introduced and referred to the Committee on 28 August 2020. The Committee published the Bill for comment and held public hearings on 20-23 and 28 October 2020.
- The Bill proposes amendments to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007, being one of several legislative measures identified to. strengthen our response to GBVF, in particular the legislation regulating the National Register for Sex Offenders (NSRO).
- Among others, the Bill aims to amend Chapter 6 of the Act to:
- Expand the scope of the NRSO to include the particulars of all sex offenders and not only sex offenders against children and persons who are mentally disabled;
- Expand the list of persons who are to be protected to include other vulnerable persons, namely, certain young women, persons with physical, mental or intellectual disabilities and persons over 60 years of age who, for example, receive community based care and support services; and
- Increase the periods for which a sex offender’s particulars must remain on the NRSO before they can be removed from the Register.
- The Bill also proposes to expand the ambit of the crime of incest and introduces a new offence of sexual intimidation.
- The Committee considered making use of the SAPS criminal records system as an alternative to the NSRO, which has experienced capacity constraints in the past, but decided against this after being reassured that the NSRO is able to take on the expanded function. After much deliberation, the Committee is of the view that the Register should remain with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for now but will require careful and regular monitoring going forward.
Report to be considered
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