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NPA to appeal Sexual Offences Act

The NPA has been granted leave to appeal a controversial judgement on the Sexual Offences Act.

NPA Logo: Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the Western Cape has been granted leave to appeal a controversial judgment on the Sexual Offences Act.

A full bench of judges on Thursday unanimously found that the state has prospects of success with an appeal.

It follows a judgment by a Riversdale magistrate, which was upheld by the Western Cape High Court, which found the Sexual Offences Act did not have a penalty clause for sexual assault, making it not punishable by law.

The Women's Legal Centre has welcomed the latest developments.

The centre's Sonia Borman said the state acted quickly in petitioning the court for an appeal, and she hoped they would act equally fast in choosing whether to approach the Supreme Court of Appeal or the Constitutional Court.

She said it was an urgent matter for victims of sexual assault especially women and children in the province.

As it stands, only dockets for 29 sexual offences in the act in the will be opened, but no arrests will be made.

This is because the implications of the high court judgment means that in addition to sexual assault, 28 other offences may not be punishable in the Western Cape.

According to Interpol, a woman is raped every 17 seconds in South Africa.

In April the country was named as the world's rape capital.