Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola says the reports released by the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) will go a long in addressing systematic problems in the country’s justice system.
He recommended an appropriate legislative remedy to address the challenges.
Lamola was speaking during a media briefing in Pretoria after receiving four reports from the Commission, among others, child pornography and the practice of ukuthwala.
Minister Ronald Lamola receives four reports from the South African Law Reform Commission:
The report seeks to address some of the gaps in how the law currently regulates and protects children from exposure.
Reseacher Dellene Clark says: “What the cyber act already has done is to appeal the offences relating to child sexual abuse material out of the former publications act that’s already introduced into sexual offences act. The chapter into the sexual offences act, the idea is to streamline all matters with the aim of protecting children from being exposed to pornography or being used to create child sexual abuse material.”
The Commission has also pointed out the distortions that have been prevailing regarding the practices of ukuthwala [a form of abduction that involves kidnapping a girl or a young woman].
Chairperson of the SA law reform commission Justice Judy Kollapen says: “What the Commission seeks to do is to recognise that there are forms of ukuthwala that have existed which people regard as an inherent part of their culture. The impact is been negatively on children and the law should through the criminal justice system but also through education be able to respond effectively to that.”
Meanwhile, the investigation into legal fees and access to justice intervention have revealed that costs are too high in the country and many people can’t afford to pay lawyers.
These challenges make it hard for people to have access to justice. But the new legislative framework is on the cards.
Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services John Jeffrey says, “We do recognise community advice offices and paralegals as extremely important, there will be legislation hopefully introduced before the end of the year and there has been work already done on the sustainability.”.
Lamola says: “We welcome the research, investigations and recommendations as set out in the reports. As we consider the necessary legislative changes amendment bills and the regulations and as government, we will go through the reports and process them through our systems for necessary legislative changes and also take them further for public engagements.”
Lamola however could not put timelines on the reports saying they still need to consult relevant stakeholders on the matters and also pass them through the cabinet for the processing of the bills.