South Africa

Sex offenders register to be more accessible

Jenni Evans 

Government is considering making the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) more accessible, but is wary of making it fully available.

  Justice Deputy Minister John Jeffery said the country had to carefully consider making the register public, because opening it up could lead to vigilante attacks on those who are on the list.

“If you suddenly discover that there is a sex offender or rapist living next door to you, and if there is rape in that community which may not involve that sex offender, they may well get targeted,” he said.

  Jeffery said they are also considering expanding the register to include everyone convicted of a sexual offence.

  The Sexual Offences Act provides that names of people who are convicted of sexual offences against children or people with mental disabilities must be included in the register.

  Only employers, in the public or private sectors; of people who look after children or people with mental disabilities can see the register, to check that the person they hire is fit to work with children or mentally disabled people.

  Jeffery said this was not enough and needed to be widened, possibly to include all sexual offenders. He noted that managers of women’s college residences, for example, do not have to be vetted.

  A presentation to the committee showed that there were 32 570 entries in the register and 24 912 of those had been validated.

  The register was administered by the Department of Justice and was indirectly accessed by the departments of health and social development, and the South African Police Service. Names on the register cannot be publicly disclosed and doing so is a criminal offence.DM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *