Action Society welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) will be made publicly available. For too long the pressure group urged government to make it accessible to all South Africans, and campaigned that the names of all sex offenders should be added to the database.
In an open letter Ramaphosa yesterday declared that three key bills will be amended to tackle SA’s gender-based violence and other violent crimes against women and children.
“This decision, together with the prospect that the names of sex offenders against women will now be included in the database, is great news. We are however still concerned about the successful implementation of the NRSO and suggest the management thereof is privatised,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society.
In August the pressure group received a written response from the registrar of the NRSO, Ntombizodwa Matjila, that it has not been updated since 2009. According to her the vetting process was only implemented last year when the development and update of the NRSO database was finalized. In 2019 the number of active and pending convictions on the NRSO was 19,668.
“Given the statistics that 50,980 children were raped and 2,600 murdered between 2014 and 2017, this paltry figure indicates that thousands of rapists are roving among our women and children. Apart from the existing register being unreliable, it is useless,” says Gouws.
By means of a partnership relevant organisations, like Action Society, can independently assist government in transforming the NRSO to an effectively managed register that is successful in protecting our vulnerable parties. The mistrust South African’s have in their criminal justice system must be restored.
Although numerous requests for NRSO clearance certificates have been logged, the register is not able to aid employers with accurate information. Consequently there is no control over whether teachers and caretakers in children’s classrooms are sex offenders or not. Not to mention the status of adoptive or foster parents.
“By working together with government we can overcome the many obstacles the NRSO is struggling with. When the correct protocol is followed the register can fulfil the aim it was envisioned for in 2007: curbing the prevalence of sexual offences in South Africa.”
Action Society supports Ramamphosa’s decision to revise these life-changing bills. “A bureaucratic state does more harm than good. Therefore we are hoping that Government will utilise the assistance of private entities to manage this very important register effectively and efficiently.”
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 8 September 2020
FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Spokesperson: Action Society,