Three new draft bills will mean South Africans may anticipate harsher punishment for criminals in the country. The Department of Justice & Correctional Facilities has announced that the following bills are open for comment until March 31.
– The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill
– The Criminal Matters Amendment Draft Bill
– The Amendment Act Amendment Draft Bill
During his State of The Nation Address (SONA) last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa told the country that these legislatures would be introduced to clamp down on crime in the country.
“We will amend the Domestic Violence Act to better protect victims in violent domestic relationships and the Sexual Offences Act to broaden the categories of sex offenders whose names must be included in the National Register for Sex Offenders, and we will pass a law to tighten bail and sentencing conditions in cases that involve gender-based violence,” he said.
Some of the most notable changes the bills will include are to:
– Further regulate the granting of bail and the putting on parole of persons
– Regulate sentences for offences committed against vulnerable persons
– Further encourage the granting of protection orders against acts of domestic violence
– Impose duties on the Department of Social Development and the Department of Health to provide certain services to victims of domestic violence
– Expanding the types of sex offenders whose names must be included in the National Sex offender Registry
In addition to these new laws, Ramaphosa said the South African Police Service (SAPS) would also set up a Crime Prevention Academy in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, to improve police activity in the region. He said police visibility, efficient recruitment and improved resourcing of police stations are the priorities of government.
“I have prioritised our response to the growing problem of criminal groups that extort money from construction and other businesses,” he said. “Specialised units – bringing together SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority – are mandated to combat these crimes of economic disruption.”