There was relief and jubilation this morning at the high court in Johannesburg following Judge Clare Hartfort's decision to declare the prescription regarding sexual assault offences in the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) unconstitutional.
This means that the 20 year time limit on reporting sexual abuse from the time it was committed is now inconsistent with South Africa's constitution.
The ruling comes after eight people alleging to have been sexually violated by the late billionaire Sidney Frankel over two decades ago sought an amendment to the CPA to write out the time limits for survivors to lay cases against alleged perpetrators.
"It still has to be confirmed by the constitutional court before it can come into effect," explained attorney representing the Frankel 8, Ian Levitt.
"Parliament have 18 months to amend the law – it's a massive victory for us and for all victims of sexual abuse.
"I feel extremely happy with the judgment – I'm confident that that the Constitutional Court will confirm it," he said.
"We are no longer faced with a law that protects the perpetrators more than the victims," Levitt added.
Vincentia Dlamini, operations director for Women and Men Against Child Abuse echoed Levitt's sentiments.
"It's a victory for victims who were unable to come forward because of the 20 year limit.
"Now, nothing will stand in the way of justice and that gap will now be closed – it's empowering," she said.