File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – The Western Cape High Court has referred the Sexual Offences Act back to Parliament for changes, after a convicted rapist committed another rape while employed as a security guard at a crèche.

Cassiem Abrahams raped an 11-year-old girl who lived across the street from the crèche where he worked in Bonteheuwel.

He had approached the court to appeal his sentence when acting Judge Daniel Thulare made the recommendation that amendments be made to the act. His appeal against the life imprisonment was dismissed.

In 2014, the child was playing in the street when the then 50-year-old Abrahams took her to his room where he instructed her to get onto the bed.

Once Abrahams was on the bed, according to the court papers, he raped her and threatened to harm her if she told anyone about what had happened.

Judge Thulare said section 50 of the act only made reference against accused people serving “a sentence of imprisonment or who has served a sentence of imprisonment, as the result of conviction for a sexual offence against a child or a person who is mentally disabled”.

“The wording of the act and its general scheme appear to suggest that persons like the accused, known by the State to have a record of previous convictions and to have served sentence(s) for indecent assault and/or rape (where the victim may not be a child or a person who is not mentally disabled) are not deemed by the State to be a danger to children, as victims of sexual offences. 

"If this is so, is this not a structural and systematic gap against every child’s right to be protected from abuse?

“It is respectfully submitted and recommended that, since the Department of Justice is looking at extending the scope of the act, as mentioned above, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007, be referred back to Parliament for amendment.

“I am not inclined to interfere with the sentence imposed by the trial court.

“In my view, the absence of appropriate prescripts, like the relevant provisions in Act 32 of 2007, is part of the gap that allowed the appellant with his previous convictions to have access to the crèche and indirectly to the child survivor.

“The systematic and operational failures, with specific reference to oversight and compliance with laws which regulates who should be employed to work with children or who is to work having access to children, is something that require further investigation.”

He said a copy of the judgment would be served to the chairperson of the portfolio committee in the Department of Justice, as well as to the Speaker of the National Assembly, for their attention.

Parliament said as no committees had been formed yet, comment was not forthcoming at this stage.

Cape Times