Strengthening sexual offences prosecutions

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Cabinet has approved the submission to Parliament of the Prescription in Civil and Criminal Matters (Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill of 2019.

“These proposed amendments will provide the National Prosecution Authority with a wider discretion to institute the prosecution of sexual offences cases that were committed even 20 years earlier,” said Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu.

Addressing a post Cabinet media briefing on Thursday, the Minister said the amendments rectify Section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act 51 of 1977) that was declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court.

“The Bill provides for the prosecution of people who have committed sexual offences, irrespective of when these offences were committed,” Mthembu said.

The Bill also makes amendments to Section 12 of the Prescription Act, 1969 (Act 68 of 1969).

The Act regulates when prescriptions in civil matters begin to run and similar to the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977, it also reflects a limited list of sexual offences.

The Minister was in Cape Town addressing the media on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting that was held on Wednesday. 

Mthembu welcomed the 20 life sentences and 758 years imprisonment handed down to the serial rapist, Bongani Lucky Masuku, as well as the life sentence handed to convicted rapist Nicholas Ninow.

“This sends a strong message to perpetrators that our criminal justice system will not tolerate crimes against women and children.

“Government remains committed to providing post-rape care for victims and encourages victims of GBV to make use of the services offered by the GBV Command Centre,” the Minister said.

The centre operates 24 hours, 365 days a year. Victims can call 0800 428 428 or send a please call me on *120*7867# or log onto the website www.gbv.org.za

National Child Care and Protection Policy (NCCP)

Cabinet approved the National Child Care and Protection Policy (NCCP), which gives effect to the Children Act, 2005 (Act 38 of 2005).

“The approved NCCP strengthens the coordination of the childcare and protection system, and ensures maximum use of current resources for improved services which promote positive development of children.

“The policy further responds to the North Gauteng High Court judgement which instructed the Minister of Social Development to make amendments that strengthen the foster care system,” Mthembu said.

Section 28 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 recognises the right of all children to social services and protection from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

National Drug Master Plan (NDMP) 2019-2024

Cabinet has also approved the National Drug Master Plan (NDMP) 2019-2024 and its implementation plan, which outlines strategies to combat the abuse of drugs and substances in South Africa.

“The plan proposes seven strategic goals to combat the abuse of drugs within our communities. It also proposes dealing with the reduction of the demand for drugs, tighter control of drugs intended for therapeutic use, as well as governance, leadership and accountability of the execution of the NDMP,” the Minister said.

The NDMP 2019-2024 follows an evaluation of the NDMP 2013-2017. 

Meanwhile, President Ramaphosa will officially open the Mpumalanga High Court in Mbombela on 8 November 2019. He will be joined by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola, and Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille. The opening of the court is part of the last phase of the programme that ensures that a High Court is established in each of the nine provinces in South Africa. – SAnews.gov.za

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