Can my record be expunged?

2016-11-16 06:01
Neo Madlala

Neo Madlala

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I have recently completed my tertiary education and I am now looking for work, but I can not get any because I have a criminal record for petty theft that I committed more than ten years ago. I received a R500 fine. Can my criminal record be removed?


A criminal record can be expunged from the records of the Criminal Records Centre (CRC) after a period of ten years has elapsed from the date of conviction for that offence, should the offender not commit another offence and have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment without the option of a fine during the ten year period subsequent to such conviction and sentence.

The provisions of section 271D of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) 51 of 1977 determines the process for the expunging of a criminal record. Sections 271A to 271C provide an indication of the sort of convictions and sentences that the offender should be given in order to qualify for their criminal record to be expunged. In this case, petty theft conviction and sentence falls under Section 271B as it relates to a sentence of a fine only that does not exceed R20 000.

The process is as follows:

You must approach a police station to get a clearance certificate which shows that a period of ten years has lapsed after the conviction and sentencing. Then you must obtain and fill in the applicable application forms, which are available on the internet.

There are forms which must be filled in depending on whether the conviction and sentence fall within section 271A, 271B or 271C of the CPA. In this case, your offence falls under section 271B and you will therefore have to fill in Form A of the application papers.

Once completed, the application must be sent to the Director-General for Justice and Constitutional Development, who will check whether you fit the criteria for expungement of the criminal record, and should you meet the requirements, issue a Certificate of Expungement. This certificate will be sent to the head of the CRC of the police, ordering the criminal record to be expunged.

Once the Certificate of Expungement has been received, the CRC must expunge the criminal record from the system. This is not the end of the road though, as you will only be informed of the expungement upon a written request to the head of the CRC.

Z Neo Madlala, candidate attorney, Phatshoane Henney Attorneys


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