Sexual Offences Act to be scrutinised
The loopholes in the Sexual Offences Act will be scrutinised in the Supreme Court of Appeal.
CAPE TOWN - Parliament's Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development on Tuesday accepted the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill, which effectively provides a stopgap for the current shortfalls in legislation.
The loopholes in the Sexual Offences Act will be scrutinised in the Supreme Court of Appeal on 12 and 13 June.
The Department of Justice briefed the committee earlier.
The bill was rushed through Parliament as a matter of urgency after it emerged that 29 sexual offences in the Act did not have provisions for penalties.
The Sexual Offences Act came in the spotlight after a Riversdale magistrate ruled that accused sexual offender,Arnold Prince, could not be sentenced for forcibly fondling a woman.
The offence did not have a penalty clause and neither did a further 28 offences in the Act.
These included among others incest, compelled self-sexual assault and bestiality.
The decision was appealed and upheld by the Western Cape High Court, but the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was granted leave to appeal.
The Justice Department's Lawrence Bassets said the new bill would make it clear if a penalty is not prescribed, sentencing would be left to the discretion of the courts within the guidelines of current legislation.
He said President Jacob Zuma would sign the legislation into law next week.
Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament Max Sisulu slammed what he called "poor quality" legislation.
Sisulu said he was concerned that more and more legislation was returned to the National Assembly for correction.
He said law makers had a responsibility of ensuring that the law protected vulnerable members of society.