GBV bills approved for submission to Parliament
Durban - The Cabinet has approved the submission of bills aimed at assisting efforts to fight gender-based violence (GBV).
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, announced at a briefing yesterday that the Cabinet had approved the submission to Parliament of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill of 2020; and the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill.
The bills responded to a number of issues raised during the Presidential Summit Against GBV, held in 2018 in respect of the criminal justice system. Lamola said: “The amendments provide a victim-centred response in the criminal justice system in respect of sexual offences. They tighten bail conditions for perpetrators of sexual offences. Warrants of arrest will no longer be a requirement prior to law-enforcement agencies responding to reported sexual crimes.
“Parole conditions are also strengthened and minimum sentences increased. The amendments also strengthen the consequences of contravening a protection order.”
The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill would amend the National Register for Sex Offenders by broadening its scope to protect vulnerable groups. People listed on the register are compelled to disclose this when they submit applications to work with these groups.
The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill would facilitate the obtaining of protection orders against acts of domestic violence via electronic means. “It obliges the Department of Social Development and Department of Health to provide certain services to victims of domestic violence and aligns the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act 1998 with the provisions of the Protection from Harassment Act, 2011,” Lamola said.
The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill of 2020 was also approved for processing to Parliament. The bill is aimed at giving effect to a Constitutional Court judgment that declared some parts of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act, 1992, and Medicines and Related Substances Control Act, 1965 unconstitutional.
“The judgment was suspended for 24 months to allow Parliament to correct those sections. This bill regulates the use and possession of cannabis and the cultivation of cannabis plants by an adult for personal use. It provides the limit of t he quantity of cannabis that may be possessed by an adult and criminalises the smoking of cannabis in public places,” Lamola said.
He said the Cabinet had also approved the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for implementation as required by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to give expression to South Africa’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change.