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Part of Sex Offences Act suspended

2009-12-03 22:07

Johannesburg - A section of the Sexual Offences Act compelling a court to consult a list of sexual offenders before placing children in foster care was on Thursday suspended, Child Welfare South Africa said.

A court had to establish whether the person with whom the child would be placed appeared on the National Register for Sexual Offenders, the non-profit organisation said in a statement.

The register, which the Sexual Offences Act provided for, was however not yet operational. This resulted in some magistrates refusing to place children in care because they could not comply with the act, leaving the children "in a lurch".

Child Welfare SA sought a High Court order to remedy this.

The minister of justice and constitutional development and the registrar of the National Register for Sex Offenders were respondents in the case, but did not oppose the application.

An order was drafted allowing relevant authorities to ignore the list. This would be in effect until the registry was up and running.

Child Welfare national executive director Ashley Theron could not immediately be reached for further comment.