The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services has indicated that it will approach the Constitutional Court to request an extension of the deadline for finalising the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill.
Dr Mathole Motshekga, Chairperson of the Committee, said the Committee would inform the Court that in its view it will not have sufficient time to consult with the public.
“If we go ahead within the timeframe, people will approach the same Court complaining about limited or lack of consultation and the Court will strike down the law saying there was insufficient consultation.”
Dr Motshekga further indicated that the Committee had already received more than 400 submissions on the proposed Amendments.
The Amendments stem from two separate Constitutional Court judgements. The Court has given Parliament until April 2015 to give effect to its judgement. One such Amendment proposes to decriminalise consensual sexual conduct between persons 12 years and older, but less than 16 years of age.
The amendment proposes, among other things, to ensure that children of certain ages are not held criminally liable for engaging in consensual sexual acts with each other and to give presiding officers a discretion in order to decide in individual cases whether the particulars of children should be included in the National Register for Sex Offenders or not.
The Committee has also extended its deadline for submissions on the Bill until 10 February 2015 at 12 pm.
ISSUED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
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Source : Parliament of South Africa