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Parly passes amendments that ends time limits on rape prosecution

Other crimes include rape, compelled rape, murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, and some other crimes.

The National Assembly of South Africa on 22 May 2019. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - The National Assembly on Tuesday passed new legislative amendments, which would see an end to the 20-year time limit to prosecute rape and other serious crimes.

These crimes include rape, compelled rape, murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, and some other crimes.

Political parties in the National Assembly all agreed to the Prescription in Civil and Criminal Matters (Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill.

Political parties on Tuesday unanimously supported the amendment.

The change in the law comes after the Constitutional Court two years ago gave Parliament 24 months to enact remedial legislation before 14 June.

Cabinet at the time stated the proposed amendments would give the National Prosecution Authority wider discretion to prosecute sexual offences committed even 20 years earlier.

The Democratic Alliance’s Werner Horn said his party welcomed and supports the bill.

"In essence, the ConCourt stated the primary rationale behind the differentiation between sexual offences in Section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act seem to be based on the belief that certain sexual offences are more serious than others. The court found this to be irrational."

In supporting the amendment the Economic Freedom Fighter’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi called the changes progressive.

"Sexual offences, particularly rape, are central to the disruption of people's lives long after they were committed.

The bill will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.