“In the past three years the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) was not yet fully implemented for the purpose of vetting any person in the register. The vetting process was only implemented last year because the development and update of the NRSO database was finalized last year.”
This shocking response from Ntombizodwa Matjila, Registrar of the National Sex Offenders Register, answered Action Society’s query whether provincial educational departments have requested to access the NRSO over the past three years.
According to the Children’s Act (38/2005) caretakers and educators should be screened for sexual offences before being appointed. The distressing fact that this protocol is not applied was raised in parliament in 2017; yet no efforts had been made since to update this crucial list and keep sexual offenders away from children. The Department of Social Development also requests a NRSO clearance certificate for social workers and potential adoptive and foster parents.
“How many children are put at risk of sexual abuse and assault because of our dysfunctional system? How many children were wrongly adopted by paedophiles over the past decade? Without a proper NRSO we are granting these perpetrators a golden opportunity to reoffend. The current out-dated NRSO is of absolute no use and our children are at risk,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society.
According to Matjila the NRSO can be made available to any applicant by way of application in a prescribed manner. “Many a times have the provincial education department requested to access the NRSO before appointing personnel, but it was not possible,” she admitted.
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development 2018/2019’s annual report validates the number of active and pending convictions on the NRSO to 19,668. Given the statistics that 50,980 children were raped and 2,600 murdered between 2014 and 2017, this paltry figure indicates that the NRSO has not been updated since the implementation in 2009. Roughly 11,600 of these cases were successfully convicted.
“South Africa’s futile effort to implement the NRSO over the past 11 years exclaims how life changing legislation is mishandled and watered down to ‘feel-good’ law-making to suit a political agenda” says Gouws.
To improve the reliability and credibility of the NRSO Action Society suggests that the management thereof is privatized. This will insure that protocol is followed and the register fulfils the aim it was envisioned for in 2007: curbing the prevalence of sexual offences in South Africa.
“Government must stop beating around the bush. We are entitled to know, and to rest assured, that the NRSO is maintained and made useful to proactively safeguard our communities. Government must be held accountable for this loophole in the system and correct this slip-up urgently,” Gouws concluded.
Action Society relies on the public’s support in order to take this matter to court and put an end to these offenses that is ruining vulnerable lives.
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 24 AUGUST 2020
FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Spokesperson: Action Society,