MEC condemns Sexual Offences Act

2012-05-18 07:17
Cape Town - 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.

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