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Zuma to sign off on sex bill

President Jacob Zuma is expected to sign the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill into law within the next week.

South Africa President Jacob Zuma. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma will sign the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill into law next week, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

It briefed the Security and Constitutional Development Select Committee in Parliament on Tuesday.

Members of Parliament (MPs) have already approved the amendments.

It explicitly states that courts have the discretion to impose sentences for 29 offences which do not have penalties in the act.

Earlier in 2012, a Riversdale magistrate dismissed a case against Arnold Prins because the act did not specify a penalty for specific crimes.

That decision was upheld by the Western Cape High Court in May.

But the National Prosecuting Authority was granted leave to appeal the ruling.

In the meantime, Parliament amended the bill as an urgent interim measure.

Advocate Sanja Bornman from the Women's Legal Centre said, "As soon as the president signs the deal, the offences will once again be punishable and police can arrest the perpetrators."

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein will hear the case on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.