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Sexual Offences Act needs to be amended

Parliament's Justice Committee are looking to amend the Sexual Offences Act.

The ruling relates to sexual crimes against children and the mentally handicapped.

JOHANNESBURG - Chairman of Parliament's Justice Committee Luwellyn Landers said the committee is drawing up its own draft bill to fix problems with the Sexual Offences Act.

On Friday the Western Cape High Court made a ruling which could see some people convicted under the act, go free.

The judgment said the perpetrators arrested for certain offences in the act cannot be formally charged because legislators omitted to prescribe sentences for the offences.

The problems with the current legislation has led to calls for the law to be amended.

"The law allows the committee to table a bill and then effectively it short-circuits the normal processes that bills follow," said Landers.

He confirmed they want to speed up the process.

"Because the court has pointed out the anomaly in the act, we can very quickly draw up a bill that fixes that anomaly," he added.

The ruling particularly relates to sexual crimes against children and the mentally handicapped.

Under the act, offenders may not be charged for include sexual assault, compelled sexual assault, consensual sexual acts with children, sexual exploitation and sexual grooming of children, as well as sexual offences against mentally disabled people.