Govt to appeal finding on Sex Offences Act

2012-05-18 08:43

Cape Town - The government will urgently appeal a Western Cape High Court finding that 29 sexual offences are not punishable because the Sexual Offences Act does not specify penalties for them, The Cape Times reported on Friday.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe was quoted as saying that he was aware of two other judgments, in KwaZulu-Natal and Free State, where a different conclusion had been reached.

Last 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.

"They said in cases where the law does not prescribe a penalty or sanction, it is up to the judicial officer to use their discretion. We have two divergent views. The higher courts must bring clarity," Radebe said.

According to the report, Parliament's justice portfolio committee was urgently discussing if amendments to the Act were necessary.

  • Tuco - 2012-05-18 08:52

    29 sexual offences are not punishable because the Sexual Offences Act does not specify penalties for them. I got a penalty for sexual perps. remove the offending organ. simple.

      Jason - 2012-05-18 08:54

      i think removing the organ would turn a sexual predator into a murderer.

      TSOTSI Smilification - 2012-05-18 08:57


      Merven - 2012-05-18 09:04

      @Tsotsi, probably because Zuma's rape trail was still busy while they were working on the legislation.

      Tuco - 2012-05-18 09:05

      @TheJaydedKing probably but I know our leaders can turn up the volume each time. when the perp elevates to being a murderer then the death penalty kicks in.Our leaders have passed less important laws with the quickness, but seem to drag their feet when it comes to important issues such as this. Its almost as if they somehow stand to benefit from all this crime. Its sick.

      Barefoot - 2012-05-18 09:16

      @TSOTSI stop being naive even the laws in the U.S are not all inclusive that is why you find new laws being made that are named after the victims especially children usually after court cases they have won. example of just a few Caley's law, Brayn's law and Chelsea's law

      TSOTSI Smilification - 2012-05-18 09:25

      Barefoot - Dont bring your ANC condom propaganda here... We have the highest rape per capita in the world! We are supposed insure we prioritize laws defending the youth and woman! The ANC has done none of this! Another thing... those laws you mentioned have not dealt with a signal issue mentioned above so don't speak about something you know very little about!

      Peter - 2012-05-18 09:27

      @Barefoot - This is not the U.S and at least they have a law against "consensual sexual acts with children" WTF kind of person are you to try and defend this

      Barefoot - 2012-05-18 09:34

      How long has the U.S constitution existed without amendments? how old is the S.A constitution? there is a reason acts and laws have amendments- it is a commendable thing if the state is an initiator in such laws- when did China introduce anti groping laws? by the way 'm not an ANC support but i know how to think with a straight head.

      TSOTSI Smilification - 2012-05-18 09:42

      BAREFOOT - You are not an cANCer supporter? Mwhahaha! That funny! You are defending them when they promoting abuse against woman and children. WTF is wrong with you?

      Trevor - 2012-05-18 09:47

      I told you guys, this ship is sinking, time for me to get off.

      Barefoot - 2012-05-18 09:47

      Tsotsi are you aware that the appeal is so that the perpetrators could be sentenced instead of being set free? unless if we are reading two different articles.

      Peter - 2012-05-18 09:49

      @Barefoot - What does communist China have to do with this now? The point is these are the most basic of laws that should have been introduced at the get go. I get your argument about making amendments on specific cases but these are world wide issues, not specific cases, that they are only introducing as part of the amendments now. That is just plain wrong.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-18 09:55

      Seems only the WC Judiciary has issues regarding these criminal acts. Similar cases in other provinces did not culminate in this verdict. """Up to the Judicial officer to use their discretion""" No discretion in the WC.......Water closet,

      Barefoot - 2012-05-18 10:02

      @Peter yes they should have been there from the start unfortunately they are not there but the fact that the government stepped in to review such laws and appeal is at least a step forward 'm not going to spew the hogwash that this is a young democracy it is not- and i remember that male rape was also not covered and the issue was raised by activists this time they saw reason instead of waiting for many people to complain first. the new constitution was a lot of cut and paste- and many things needs to be edited- the info bill is not one of them. i talked about China to show that some laws are put up after the incidence of certain crime shows a growing trend.

      Peter - 2012-05-18 10:03

      @Tamaranui - Sounds to me like the rest of the country just doesnt follow the law and takes it into their own hands. There is nothing wrong with the WC Judiciary there is a problem with the law, don't try twist this around. A lawyers job is to stop their client going to jail. If the law has flaws its no one but parliaments fault for letting it slip through to begin with.

      lerato.kay.3 - 2012-05-18 11:08

      @TSOTSI Smilification don’t just attack ANC for the sake of it. If you love attacking ANC at any given opportunity the least you can do is to get your facts in order. This is known as the Sexual Offences Act 23 of 1957 , so tell me was the ANC running parliament in 1957. Now that the ANC is taking about panel beating the constitution you complain. Gwede said the constitution is a living document and must change to suit the time period we are living. Just to be clear here are you in agreement with the ANC that the constitution needs to be changed? @Barefoot you got a point, the constitution can't cover everything, new laws have to be drafted or amended to suit the times !

  • Jason - 2012-05-18 08:53

    In a country so toasted with sex offences and violence against women i find this absolutely retarded. we need to get heavy about sex crimes.

      SaintBruce - 2012-05-18 16:41

      What the ANC seem to fail to understand [ that seems to be so easy these days] is that a court of law can ONLY work with sound and effective legislation and enforce it. If the laws made are incomplete or lacking in effectiveness, the judges have nothing to work with. They cannot 'make up' a sanction but have to work in the framework of the Act under which the accused is charged. If that Act does not prescribe a range of penalties, the Judge is powerless to provide sentencing for a conviction. Now the other side of the tarnished coin is this: If the new act repealed the old one and a current jailbird starts an appeal against his previous 'valid' conviction being incorrect, the only law the judges can use is the current one which may result in the State having to let that offender out with a pardon [ and hope he doesn't sue them]! This is crazy but shows that Parliament is filled with servants of the citizens who have no idea how critical proper law making is and pass laws they have not understood. How easy it must be to infiltrate and have laws made to suit a select few! God forbid! Oh dear! I suspect my above statement is more true than most suppose already!

  • johleneh - 2012-05-18 08:55

    I agree with both Tuco and TheJaydedKing, what the hell is happening to our legal system? Not to mention our humanity? This is completely sickening and so well said: "retarded"

  • mphotent.thelejane - 2012-05-18 09:00

    What happened to bonos mores and doctorine of precedence...seems like these courts need revision.

  • Herman - 2012-05-18 09:01

    This government is so useless, damn, we need to get rid of the anc!

  • Angela - 2012-05-18 09:17

    They've bounced the responsibilty to the judiciary so now it's time for the judges to step up to the plate and DO something.

  • Sharon - 2012-05-18 09:27

    The lawyers of sexual offenders will say thank-you, our job is done for us! Appealing decisions based on the act is trying to put a plaster on an amputated limb. Fix the Act!

  • Aristar - 2012-05-18 09:32

    The government is here to serve not to rule. The basis of a democratic system is that we, the voter, vote for the politicians to be put in place to SERVE US, not rule us.

  • Lacrimose - 2012-05-18 09:52

    It really is quite simple, mandatory life sentences. Regardless of the number of categories of sexual offences, we as a society do not want these people back. Ever

  • Ted - 2012-05-18 09:58

    The oversight has to be fixed or clarified. I ma however not happy with some people who now have a rabid dislike of the ANC. Everything is just the problem of the ANC. Parliament makes laws and amends them etc. But pliz let's not lose sight of the fact that the ANC, though a majority, are not the only party in Parliament. An IFP of DA MP could still move a motion of sorts.

  • Schmee - 2012-05-18 10:52

    Don't tell me those 7 guys that raped the mentally disabled girl are going to go free. Or maybe they should go free but their names and faces should be published on bill boards because that way they won't be wondering the streets much longer either.

  • Pur - 2012-05-18 11:38

    Come on people - its so simple. The government proposes laws and amendments to existing laws. These are then voted on in Parliament. If the majority vote for the proposed new law or amendment, it becomes law. It is then the job of the Judiciary to apply the new law when an accused is charged and brought to trial before the courts. The prosecutor attempts to prove guilt and the defence attorney/counsel tries to prove innocence or to show loopholes in procedure or the law itself. What has happened here is that the law is poorly drafted and the penalties are not defined. So the defence team will exploit that and apply for the accused to be discharged. The error lies in the law itself and the responsibility for poor work is squarely the Government's fault - not the Judiciary. Now just watch as the bunch of hoodlums that abducted and raped that poor mentally-challenged girl recently use this precedent to get off scot free. In which case the community should be free to exercise their own brand of justice because, once again, the R-soles running the country have failed the people. - 2012-05-19 12:12

      This stupid government only want to change street and building names and stuff that remind them of a time when the country was doing well, not things that really matter

  • benlloyd.roth - 2012-05-18 11:53

    Shocking! How on earth can these crimes not have prescribed penalties! these offenders should be penalised to the highest extent of the law. No death penalty? Whats next worst punishment?

  • - 2012-05-18 15:48

    i suppose when they amend the act it will have a clause in there to punish artists who paint pictures of the president with his dirty little spear hanging out

  • pages:
  • 1