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Sexual Offences Act flawed?

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein is expected to rule on whether the Sexual Offences Act is flawed.

The Supreme Court of Appeal. Picture: Supplied by the court.

BLOEMFONTEIN - The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein is expected to rule on Friday on whether the Sexual Offences Act is indeed flawed.

In May, the Western Cape High Court upheld a magistrate's ruling that he could not sentence a man convicted of fondling as there is no penalty under the act.

It then emerged there are 29 such offences in the act.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard an urgent appeal by the NPA in the Western Cape.

The loop holes in the legislation meant that police in the Western Cape have not been able to make arrests for those 29 sexual offences. They could only open dockets and take statements.

It has been a stressful time for child rights groups.

The Women's Legal Centre Sanya Bornman said she believes sentences can be handed down in terms of the criminal procedure act.

"We're hoping that the judgement will say categorically just because there are no sentencing provisions in the Sexual Offences Act doesn't mean there are no offences."

The Sexual Offences Act was amended in Parliament earlier this month as an urgent interim measure to give courts the discretion to impose sentences for the relevant offences.