Petition calls for sex offenders' register to be made available to the public
An online petition is calling for the national register for sex offenders to be publicly available on various online and mobile platforms for easy access.
The register‚ which is kept by the justice department‚ is a record of names of those who have been found guilty of sexual offences against children and mentally disabled people.
The register is not open to the public and is kept confidential. It gives employers in the public or private sectors such as schools‚ crèches and hospitals the right to check that a person being hired is fit to work with children or mentally disabled people.
In an online petition addressed to justice minister Ronald Lamola‚ petition creator Nelisa Ngqulana said South Africa had the highest rate of rape and gender-based violence in the world.
"Women and children are not safe in homes‚ schools‚ university campuses‚ churches‚ at work - basically everywhere. We need to know who among us are convicted sex offenders so that we can protect ourselves‚" Ngqulana said.
She questioned why - if the register’s intention was to protect children and mentally disabled people against sex offenders - it was not accessible to the public.
"There are raging protests all over the country ... hashtags ... we are tired of talking. This is one action that can help us deal with this scourge head on‚" she said.
She said the list should be on a free government site so that anyone could access it.
In his address to the nation on Thursday on government’s plan to fight against gender-based violence‚ President Cyril Ramaphosa said he would urge parliament to amend legislation so that the register was made public.
Ramaphosa made this announcement in the wake of protests and calls for harsher action against perpetrators of sexual violence following the high-profile rape and murder of several women in recent days.
Source: TMG Digital.
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