The pressure group Action Society is urging to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to end the state of disaster with immediate effect. This comes after she indicated that she will be likely extending the lockdown regulations by another month.
“By prolonging the state of disaster, violence against women and children will keep escalating. It seems like government is ignoring the current circumstances and not making the safety of our children their main concern. It is clear that our children are not safe within state hospitals due to Covid-19 regulations,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society.
This comes after another child was allegedly raped by another patient at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital. Due to coronavirus regulations the mother was not allowed to attend to or visit her child.
Earlier a two-year-old was also raped at Dr George Mukhari Hospital in Pretoria during her obligated stay in a Covid-19 isolation room. Hospital staff told the mother to go home since her baby girl might have the coronavirus and needs to be in isolation. Upon discharge the next day the mother realised that the child was not herself and discovered that she has been sexually assaulted.
“The decision to further extend the state of disaster will be very irresponsible, as it will put more children in harm’s way. The future of our children should be protected now! It will not matter that they survived a pandemic in years to come, but was raped and abused due to Covid-19 regulations.”
ANC man arrested for raping his daughters previously charged with rape
The former Mpumalanga MEC, Sikhumbuzo Eric Kholwane, who has been arrested on Monday for allegedly raping his two daughters, had been charged with the same crime in 2011.
“If the amended legislation regarding the National Register of Sex Offenders (NRSO) had been in place, this probably would have never happened,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society.
The pressure group recently partnered with Dear South Africa (DearSA) to encourage all South Africans to help shape the draft amendments regarding gender-based violence (GBV), before they are signed into law. South Africans have until 9 October to submit their comments and support online, www.dearsouthafrica.co.za/gbv/.
The foreseeable adjustments promises that the names of all rapists will be included on the National Register of Sex Offenders (NRSO), that this register will be made publicly available and that offenders’ names will be kept on the database for a longer period.
“While sex predators are preying on our vulnerable women and children, our patience for government to act on this matter is running out. Your participation to ensure these life-changing proposals are successfully implemented is highly valued. Together we can make history and change the future of the women and children in South Africa,” says Gouws.
Kholwane, who appeared in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court alongside his 26-year-old stepson, will remain after bars until his formal bail application on 1 October.
Without the thorough implementation of the National Register of Sex Offenders (NRSO), rapists like Reagan Zietsman get a chance to repeat their crime — for a third time.
On Tuesday Zietsman pleaded guilty in the Bredasdorp Magistrate's Court on charges of murder and rape of the 6-year-old Delvina Europa last year. In January 2017 he was also convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl. The five-year prison sentence for this crime was however suspended with conditions.
"It is unacceptable that the rights of a sex offender outweigh that of a victim. Until government can guarantee that the NRSO is run properly, the public has a right to know who these monsters are. We need to protect our vulnerable children and women," says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson for Action Society.
The pressure group calls on the government to publish the names of convicted sex offenders on the NRSO and to make the list public. Action Society appeals to the public to support their petition () by signing it.
Europa was the fifth child murder in the Overberg region since 2013.
"The fact that Zietsman was good friends with the victim's father once again is proof that these atrocities are happening right under our noses. It is time to join hands and fight together so that vile deeds like these do not go unpunished and end within our communities. A sixth victim should not be added to the list if the government keeps their promises on gender-based violence (GBV) and the NRSO."
Action Society is busy with proposals to government that the NRSO should be privatized. The registrar of the NRSO last week admitted to them that numerous schools had tried to obtain NRSO clearance certificates before appointments were made in the past. It was however useless since the register has not been updated since its implementation in 2009.
"Consequently there is no control over whether teachers in our children’s classrooms are sex offenders or not. Never mind the status of adoptive or foster parents,” says Gouws.
Though welcoming Cabinet’s announcement on Thursday’s that the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill has been approved, Action Society supports Herman Mashaba’s belief that harsher sentencing for rapists should be considered.
The South African entrepreneur, politician and the former Mayor of Johannesburg stated that he want to engage with the people of South Africa on sentences that would stop sex offenders from repeating their crimes. “We cannot afford to be soft on criminals; it is apparent that they do not operate with such a constraint of conscience. When you consider how rape destroys the lives of the victims, I would not lose a minute’s sleep over this kind of punishment.”
In June Action Society launched the “Know your neighbour” campaign urging government to amend the Sexual Offences Act; allowing the names of 42 289-convicted rapists to be added to the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO). Currently the database only consists of sexual offenders who have been found guilty of sexual offences against minors and mentally disabled people. The list, that is kept confidential, excludes the names of convicted rapists in general, which must be added for the safety and security of our communities — especially the most vulnerable.
The civil rights group also instructed their legal team to appeal to the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) in order for the NRSO to be made freely available.
“By updating the NRSO with the names of all rapists and making their identities public, we can stop perpetrators from repeated crimes,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society.
With one person being murdered every 27 minutes and a woman raped every minute, South Africa sordidly trophies its place on the world’s top five list in terms of murder and top three in terms of rape. “This epidemic of crime has touched us all. You will not find a South African who has not either been a victim of crime, or had someone close to them experience this trauma,” Mashaba said.
In a country where government lacks the power to enforce safety and security, transparency in our communities seems to be the only option to safeguard our women and children. Action Society seeks public support concerning their petition (https://www.actionsociety.co.za/national-register) that urges government to update the NRSO and to make it publicly available before another life is ruined.
Make National Register for Sex Offenders public urgently
President Cyril Ramaphosa fails to protect the most vulnerable members of our community. According to the latest annual crime statistics presented in Parliament today, sexual offences increased from 52 420 to 53 293. This is proof that the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) must be made public urgently.
“The South African government must make the NRSO available to the public to ensure transparency in our communities and for the safekeeping of our women and children,” says Action Society spokesperson, Juanita du Preez.
“As we enter Women’s Month, some women will receive flowers and praises, but thousands will receive bruises and abuse. Mr President, talking about the problem is not helping, we need to take drastic measures over the 42 000 women raped during the last year.”
The year on year increase of crimes against women and children shows that the government lacks the will to enforce safety and security in South Africa.
“If the President is genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of our women and children, he must make the NRSO available to the public as soon as possible. It will encourage transparency in our communities and help to safeguard children and other vulnerable persons.”
Action Society Pleads for 67 days without abuse for MANDELA DAY
A woman is killed every three hours in South Africa and over 110 cases of rape are reported daily. According to South Africa’s crime statistics released by the police in parliament on 12 September 2019 a total of 1,014 children were murdered from April 2018 to March 2019.
“Even though we know that these numbers do not even resemble the reality, the horrifying figures are disturbing! It comes as no surprise that more than 120,000 victims rang the national helpline for abused women and children — doubling the usual volumes of calls — within the first three weeks of lockdown,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society.
In light of Mandela Day celebrated annually on 18 July, the civil rights organization pleads for 67 days without abuse. “Imagine this: 7,370 women won’t be raped and 200 children would not be murdered. We plead for your participation in this campaign that may change someone’s future.”
Two in five women are beaten by their partners. One in 15 women is murdered by someone they have a close relationship with. Minister of Police Bheki Cele makes an understatement by saying South Africa’s crime statistics are “not very rosy”.
“Interpol proclaims that it is estimated that a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning to read. It is time to wake-up, South Africa!” Gouws says.
It is obvious that government lacks the will to enforce safety and security in SA. Citizens are obliged to join hands together to reinforce these civil rights and protect vulnerable parties. Action Society involves a group of professionals who actively work toward removing bad actors in our communities, mainly through legal means. The aim of their civil rights organisation is to change policies and act on behalf of those in need.
In June Action Society launched a “Know your neighbour” campaign, urging SA’s government to make the national register for sex offenders (NRSO) publicly available. It is unacceptable that the desires of sexual offenders to stay anonymous trump the right of a community to keep themself safe.
Action Society wants Mandela Day 2020 to acknowledge the abuse of children, women and elderly and educate others about the warning signs and how to report an incident to break the silence.
“Nelson Mandela began campaigning for human rights in 1942. His legacy was that each individual has the power to transform the world and the ability to make an impact. However we know that we are stronger together,” Gouws concluded.
Gender-based violence will not silence the women and children who are beaten and murdered.
President Cyril Ramaphosa last night gave a voice to the murdered 21 women and children who lost their lives the past few weeks. He said that he is appalled by the war against women and children in South Africa.
“We are however not satisfied with his remark that ALMOST all of the alleged perpetrators have been arrested thus far,” says Daleen Gouws, the spokesperson for Action Society. “Even though we appreciate the steps taken by the government and highlighted by the president last night to support survivors of these types of crimes, more should be done to stop it from happening altogether.”
During the country’s National Child Protection Week, Action Society urged the government to make the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) public. The NRSO is kept confidential, and as a result, numerous offenders still target vulnerable people in our society.
“By knowing the names of sex offenders and perpetrators of other types of violent acts against women and children, we can better protect this vulnerable group,” says Gouws.
Action Society is a civil rights organisation driven by a purpose to provide a voice for the voiceless. Our team has come together to form a collaborative arm within the community. We fight for justice and change by supporting and fulfilling the needs of the vulnerable. Utilising the framework of our civil rights system, we aim to deconstruct the harsh realities that we see daily.
No schooling may cause cases of child labour to flare
While the on-going debate regarding the 2020-academic school year endures, a number of parents still have not receive word or work from their schools. Absolute boredom, the concern about a year of their lives being ‘lost’ and a drop in household income, tempts children to enter the labour market.
As World Day against Child Labour is celebrated today the newfound civil rights organization, Action Society, encourages South Africans to abide the law and not to employ minors. The worldwide movement against child labour in any of its forms is canvassed annually on 12 June. The World Day against Child Labour 2020’s theme focuses on the impact of a crisis on child labour.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) 218 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 are labouring worldwide. Among them 152 million are victims of child labour; almost half of them, 73 million, work in hazardous circumstances. 60% of these vulnerable children in South Africa argue that they have no other option than to support their family financially.
“Under the basic conditions of the employment act it is a criminal offence to employ a child younger than 15 years — they are compelled to attend school. Even children aged 15 to 18 are only allowed to do work which are appropriate to their age and capabilities,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society.
“As an organization fighting for the rights of children, we urge employers not to deprive any child from his or her carefree childhood, rather encourage them to adequately educate themselves.”
It comes as no surprise that Africa’s figure on child labour (72.1 million) outwits other continents (19.6%).
In terms of prevalence one in every five African children works. ILO’s 2012-2016 statistics indicates that Africa, Asia and the Pacific regions together accounts for almost nine out of every ten children in child labour worldwide!
Action Society suggests that general helping at home should be safe and constructive towards a child’s social, physical, mental, moral and educational development. “Paid and unpaid forms of work are classified as child labour when a person are either too young to work, or are involved in hazardous activities that may compromise their development. The exploitation of children, especially adults using children to commit crimes, is taboo!” says Gouws.
Although South Africa's Department of Labour (DoL) successfully made several amendments to child labour legislations, their work has been limited to the formal economic sector and has not tackled the worst forms of child labour (WFCL).
According to Action Society knowledge and understanding of the child labour act is still an issue in South Africa. “Keeping a watchful eye and safeguarding our children is not merely the responsibility of our government. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 health pandemic on our economy, some children now more than ever need all the support they can get.”
Policing the police is a hoax, says Action Society
The idea of phoning the police to report the police sounds as far-fetched as the outcome of government’s new toll free whistleblowing project will be.
This is the concern of Action Society after Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) yesterday launched a toll free number, 0800-111-969, through which citizens can report police officers that sleeps or are drunk on duty, who turn away victims of gender based (GBV) or domestic violence, who abuse state resources, harass citizens or comply to any other form of corruption.
“Since when can a governing body govern itself?” asks Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society. “Though we strongly support the initiative, this body should be privatised to fully combat corruption in the South African Police Service (SAPS).”
During his speech to the minister of police, Mr. Bheki Chele, said that IPID is mandated to conduct independent and impartial investigations of criminal offences allegedly committed by members of the SAPS and the Municipal Police. He said that this phone line, that promises to combat police misconduct, will empower communities like never before.
According to IPID’s annual report a total of 5 829 cases were reported in 2018/2019. A mere 35% of these criminal recommendations were made to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for judgment of which 55 has been prosecuted, 412 declined and 4 has been withdrawn. The other 1,573 is still under investigation.
“Given the backlog of investigations the Executive Director of IPID, Jennifer Ntlatseng, should have given it more thought when she said that they are expecting a lot of calls but ready for it,” says Gouws.
The pressure group can’t envision how whistleblowing will hold police officers accountable for their actions. “Government needs to clean-up their own police stations and suspend officers who go against the oaths they took in protecting and serving the community. Recruitment processes within the SAPS should be re-evaluated to ensure that people that honestly want to serve this country are wearing the badge.”
Action Society partners with DearSA to promote GBV amendments
Action Society and Dear South Africa (DearSA) have joined forces to encourage participation in the amendment process of legislation regarding gender-based violence (GBV). South Africans have until 9 October to submit their comments and support online regarding these life-changing proposals.
"To facilitate the participation process, we decided on this partnership. This is an important opportunity where you as an individual can make a difference in the history of South Africa. We therefore want to motivate the public to take part in the simple process,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson for Action Society.
Under the current South African laws, government grants the public an opportunity to provide an influencing comment on all policy and legislative amendments before implementation.
“We encourage all South Africans to help shape these draft amendments before they are signed into law. You can do so by having your say at www.dearsouthafrica.co.za/gbv/,” says Rob Hutchinson, managing director of DearSA.
Earlier this month Action Society welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that three key bills will be amended to tackle SA’s GBV and other violent crimes against women and children. These foreseeable adjustments promises that the names of all rapists will be included on the National Register of Sex Offenders (NRSO), that this register will be made publicly available and that offenders’ names will be kept on the database for a longer period.
"This matter is very close to our hearts. For some time now these objectives have been our main focus. To us this is a blink of light at the end of a dark tunnel. We hope that the successful implementation and enforcement of these proposals will have a positive effect to curb SA’s sex crime stats” says Gouws.
For far too long now perpetrators have preyed on the vulnerable women and children. Action Society calls on all South African to be a voice for the voiceless by submitting their comments digitally on Dear SA’s website.
Life sentence for convicted sexual offenders is not merely a punishment for destroying someone’s future. This comes after a 62-year-old man, Madala Peter Tshemese, was convicted on Friday for raping a 15-month-old baby. Action Society requests the National Prosecuting Authority to push for the highest sentences conceivable.
“How can a possible 25 years in jail justify this devastating act? Not only did Tshemese deprive the baby girl of her innocence, as a father figure he was also the one that should have been protecting her. We are calling for harsher sentences. He should never be released again,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of the civil rights organisation.
Furthermore Action Society urges our government to publish the names of convicted sexual offenders on the national register for sex offenders (NRSO) and to make the list public. “If we can’t know who they are, then they should be locked away in prison for life. We can’t afford to have these monsters among our vulnerable children and woman.”
RAPE AND ASSAULT: SA’S GIFT TO OUR LADIES FOR WOMEN’S DAY
The raping of the 46-year old women and her two daughters on their smallholding outside Muldersdrift on Friday are proof that amendments on the Sexual Offences Act are needed. The names of convicted rapists should be added to the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) and this list should be made public urgently.
“When this three offenders are hunt down their identities should be accessible on the NRSO so that everyone knows who they are when they for example apply for a job in the future. No punishment truly justifies the long-term harm a woman must process after being assaulted and raped,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of civil rights group, Action Society.
On the brink of National Women’s Day another wife was being brutally assaulted. The 64-year-old Irene Muhl is in a critical condition at a Rustenburg hospital after her tendons and muscles was cut off with a panga. She also suffered numerous stab wounds to her body. Appallingly a case of theft is being investigated since the five armed attackers fled the scene with a laptop and bicycle.
“These two dreadful incidents are proof that government lacks the will to enforce safety and security in South Africa. The latest annual crime statistics, presented in Parliament last week, stated that rape cases have increased by 1.7% since 2018. We need to join hands together in our fight to combat sex offenders from repeating their crimes,” says Gouws.
President Cyril Ramaphosa must stop making empty promises when it comes to gender based violence (GBV) and the wellbeing of women and children in this country. Transparency of criminal’s identities in our communities seems to be the only solution to the escalating problem.
Keep children safe, open schools, says Action Society
The safety of children should be the primary concern in the debate around schools being closed or staying open.
Our constitution provides for the right to basic education, but the student’s organisation Cosas’ ongoing campaign to disrupt schools and even harm learners, compromises this right.
More than two million children up to the age of 15 have to stay at home without any adult supervision because their caregivers have to work. Almost a million of these kids are under the age of six.
“Millions of South African kids have to stay home under difficult circumstances with no access to education or the internet for self-study,” says Daleen Gouws, the spokesperson of Action Society. “They are vulnerable when left home alone, but caregivers have to work to provide for their families. The decision to close schools again was very irresponsible as it puts more children in South Africa in harm’s way.”
Action Society is also worried about the more than nine million kids who receive a daily meal from the school feeding programme, but who now have to go without healthy nutrition.
“Children should always be safe, with proper care and nutrition,” says Gouws. “The future of our children should be protected now, or it won’t matter that they survived a pandemic in years to come, but they have a poor education.”
Action Society calls on the government to open all schools because each child has the right to education, and it’s teachers responsibility to educate them.
Appeal to revise sentence of Mpumalanga Stepdad Rapist to 67 years
“Life sentence for convicted sexual offenders are not merely a punishment for destroying someone’s future. Soon we will be celebrating Mandela day and our current situation does not reflect the legacy of freedom and safety our beloved former president dreamt of for this country.”
This disappointed reaction from Action Society comes after a life term was ordered on Tuesday by the Mhala Regional Court for the 31-year-old man accused of raping his stepdaughter. The rape occurred in 2018 in a village near Bushbuckridge.
The sexual offender ordered his 4-year-old stepdaughter to stand guard while raping her 7-year-old sister. The ordeal was later uncovered by neighbours when they've noticed the girl limping as she was walking back home from school. According to magistrate Annemarie Theron the man showed no remorse during sentencing and denied the harm he had done to the girl. Apart from the emotional damage she is suffering from urinary incontinence as a result of the rape.
“How can a possible 25 years in jail justify this devastating act? We are calling for harsher sentences,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of the civil rights organisation.
In light of Mandela Day — celebrated on 18 July — Action Society is pleading for 67 days without abuse. A woman is killed every three hours in South Africa and over 110 cases of rape are reported daily.
“Interpol claims that a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning to read. Monstrous perpetrators, like this stepdad who was supposed to safeguard his children, needs to be held accountable for their actions.”
Action Society demands the National Prosecuting Authority to review the sentences for convicted sexual offenders. “Nelson Mandela’s life is celebrated annually by voluntarily committing 67 minutes of your time. We request that sentences for these intentionally malicious offenders are increased to an appropriate 67 years,” says Gouws.
Furthermore Action Society urges our government to publish the names of convicted sexual offenders on the national register for sex offenders (NRSO) and to make the list publicly available. “If we can’t know who they are, then they should be in prison for life. We can’t have them in our society.”
Youth Day: Address the management and maintenance of the NRSO to protect our children
The report on the government’s R1.6-billion plan to combat gender-based violence which was recently released, raise questions on the allocation of resources and only 1,660 names on the National Register of Sex Offenders (NRSO). As stated in the report, the criminal justice system has, to date been inadequate in responding to the crisis of rape, domestic violence, femicide, child homicide and other related forms of gender-based violence in South Africa.
On the brink of Youth Day, Action Society wants to address the management and maintenance of the NRSO to protect our children from these perpetrators. Three bills have been developed to tighten legislation relating to the granting of bail, imposition of sentences, and the protection afforded by the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO). The department already spent R5 255 421.00 on the register in 2010, but ten years later there are only 1,660 names on the list.
“How is that possible? More than 50,000 child rapes took place from 2014 to 2017. It creates great concern about the state's ability to manage the administration of the list" says Action Society spokesperson, Daleen Gouws.
The organisation further adds that the state should consider working with the active private and non-profit organisations to manage the list.
“One assumes that your loved ones are surrounded by people that are ‘safe’, but are they? Do we truly know our neighbours?”
Action Society launched their “Know your neighbour” campaign during SA’s National Child Protection week, — urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to publicly release the NRSO as soon as possible.
“We are concerned that government lacks the will to enforce safety and security in South-Africa. Citizens are therefore obliged take a stand to change this by joining hands together,” Action Society’s spokesperson, Daleen Gouws says.
Action Society is a civil rights organisation driven by a purpose to provide a voice for the voiceless. Our team has come together to form a collaborative arm within the community: fighting for justice and change by supporting and fulfilling in the needs of the vulnerable. Utilising the framework of our civil rights system we aim to deconstruct the harsh realities that we see daily.
New found civil rights organisation, Action Society launch campaign “Know your neighbour”
Nearly 10% of sex offenders age 24 or younger at the time of their release were arrested for rape or sexual assault within 3 years of release, compared to 3.0% of those aged 40 or older.
This distressing data derives from a nine-year study (2005-2014) compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice in May 2019 (www.bjs.gov).
“One assumes that your loved ones are surrounded by people that are ‘safe’, but are they? Do we truly know our neighbours? Are there persons in our close community who are listed on the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO)?”
These are the questions raised by Action Society, a new found civil rights organisation fighting for justice and change by supporting and fulfilling in the needs of the vulnerable. At the brink of SA’s National Child Protection week, Action Society are launching their “Know your neighbour” campaign — urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to publicly release the NRSO as soon as possible.
The NRSO was established in 2007 by an Act of Parliament in an effort to “curb the prevalence of sexual offences in South Africa”. The NRSO is a database that lists the names of sexual offenders who have been found guilty of sexual offences against minors and mentally disabled people. Names of people convicted of such crimes but were declared mentally unfit to stand trial’s names are also included in the register.
Presently employers in the public and private sectors, such as schools, crèches and hospitals, have the right to access this register in order to confirm that a potential employee are fit to work with children or mentally disabled persons. Convicted offenders are not allowed to work with, adopt or apply to be foster carers of children.
The NRSO, which was implemented in 2009, however is kept confidential and not open to the general public. As a result numerous offenders still have access to vulnerable people in our society. Although sex offender registries exists in many English-speaking countries (including Australia, Canada, Israel, Jamaica, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago) it is only publicly accessible in the United States.
“We are concerned that government lacks the will to enforce safety and security in South Africa. Citizens are therefore obliged to take a stand and change this by joining hands together,” Action Society’s spokesperson, Daleen Gouws says.
“Making the NRSO freely available will encourage transparency in our communities and safeguard our children and other vulnerable parties. Especially now in light of Covid-19 restrictions which forces persons that might be at risk to be with acquit perpetrators of sexual crimes 24/7.”
Action Society is a civil rights organisation driven by a purpose to provide a voice to the voiceless. Our team has come together to form a collaborative arm within the community: fighting for justice and change by supporting and fulfilling in the needs of the vulnerable. Utilizing the framework of our civil rights system we aim to deconstruct the harsh realities that we see daily.
Final day to submit support regarding NRSO amendments
South Africans only have until today, 9 October 2020, to submit their comments and support online () regarding the amendment of gender-based violence legislation.
Action Society and Dear South Africa (DearSA) decided on a partnership to gather the public's insight on these life-changing proposals. The foreseeable adjustments promises that the names of all rapists will be included on the National Register of Sex Offenders (NRSO), that this register will be made publicly available and that offenders’ names will be kept on the database for a longer period.
"To facilitate the participation process, we decided to join forces. This is an important opportunity where you as an individual can change the history of South Africa. We therefore want to encourage the public to take part in the effortless process that will only take a minute or two of your time,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson for Action Society.
Action Society also reached out to the NRSO Registrar, Ntombizodwa Matjila, with practical suggestions on reviewing the current NRSO protocol. This follows after the pressure group received a written response that the database had not been kept up to date since 2009. Matjila also acknowledged that the efforts of various government departments to obtain NRSO clearance certificates for teachers and prospective adoptive or foster parents were unsuccessful.
"For too long loopholes in the system unscrupulously granted sex offenders the opportunity to prey on vulnerable women and children. We call on all South Africans to be a voice for the voiceless and to submit their comments digitally on DearSA's website,” says Gouws.
Ramaphosa amends NRSO Bill according to Action Society's plea
Action Society welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) will be made publicly available. For too long the pressure group urged government to make it accessible to all South Africans, and campaigned that the names of all sex offenders should be added to the database.
In an open letter Ramaphosa yesterday declared that three key bills will be amended to tackle SA’s gender-based violence and other violent crimes against women and children.
“This decision, together with the prospect that the names of sex offenders against women will now be included in the database, is great news. We are however still concerned about the successful implementation of the NRSO and suggest the management thereof is privatised,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society.
In August the pressure group received a written response from the registrar of the NRSO, Ntombizodwa Matjila, that it has not been updated since 2009. According to her the vetting process was only implemented last year when the development and update of the NRSO database was finalized. In 2019 the number of active and pending convictions on the NRSO was 19,668.
“Given the statistics that 50,980 children were raped and 2,600 murdered between 2014 and 2017, this paltry figure indicates that thousands of rapists are roving among our women and children. Apart from the existing register being unreliable, it is useless,” says Gouws.
By means of a partnership relevant organisations, like Action Society, can independently assist government in transforming the NRSO to an effectively managed register that is successful in protecting our vulnerable parties. The mistrust South African’s have in their criminal justice system must be restored.
Although numerous requests for NRSO clearance certificates have been logged, the register is not able to aid employers with accurate information. Consequently there is no control over whether teachers and caretakers in children’s classrooms are sex offenders or not. Not to mention the status of adoptive or foster parents.
“By working together with government we can overcome the many obstacles the NRSO is struggling with. When the correct protocol is followed the register can fulfil the aim it was envisioned for in 2007: curbing the prevalence of sexual offences in South Africa.”
Action Society supports Ramamphosa’s decision to revise these life-changing bills. “A bureaucratic state does more harm than good. Therefore we are hoping that Government will utilise the assistance of private entities to manage this very important register effectively and efficiently.”
“In the past three years the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) was not yet fully implemented for the purpose of vetting any person in the register. The vetting process was only implemented last year because the development and update of the NRSO database was finalized last year.”
This shocking response from Ntombizodwa Matjila, Registrar of the National Sex Offenders Register, answered Action Society’s query whether provincial educational departments have requested to access the NRSO over the past three years.
According to the Children's Act (38/2005) caretakers and educators should be screened for sexual offences before being appointed. The distressing fact that this protocol is not applied was raised in parliament in 2017; yet no efforts had been made since to update this crucial list and keep sexual offenders away from children. The Department of Social Development also requests a NRSO clearance certificate for social workers and potential adoptive and foster parents.
“How many children are put at risk of sexual abuse and assault because of our dysfunctional system? How many children were wrongly adopted by paedophiles over the past decade? Without a proper NRSO we are granting these perpetrators a golden opportunity to reoffend. The current out-dated NRSO is of absolute no use and our children are at risk,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society.
According to Matjila the NRSO can be made available to any applicant by way of application in a prescribed manner. “Many a times have the provincial education department requested to access the NRSO before appointing personnel, but it was not possible,” she admitted.
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development 2018/2019’s annual report validates the number of active and pending convictions on the NRSO to 19,668. Given the statistics that 50,980 children were raped and 2,600 murdered between 2014 and 2017, this paltry figure indicates that the NRSO has not been updated since the implementation in 2009. Roughly 11,600 of these cases were successfully convicted.
“South Africa’s futile effort to implement the NRSO over the past 11 years exclaims how life changing legislation is mishandled and watered down to ‘feel-good’ law-making to suit a political agenda” says Gouws.
To improve the reliability and credibility of the NRSO Action Society suggests that the management thereof is privatized. This will insure that protocol is followed and the register fulfils the aim it was envisioned for in 2007: curbing the prevalence of sexual offences in South Africa.
“Government must stop beating around the bush. We are entitled to know, and to rest assured, that the NRSO is maintained and made useful to proactively safeguard our communities. Government must be held accountable for this loophole in the system and correct this slip-up urgently,” Gouws concluded.
Action Society relies on the public’s support in order to take this matter to court and put an end to these offenses that is ruining vulnerable lives.
ADD CONVICTED RAPIST TO THE NRSO, PLEAS ACTION SOCIETY
The civil rights organisation Action Society calls on SA’s government to amend the Sexual Offences Act, allowing the names of 42 289-convicted rapists to be added to the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO). Currently only the names of convicted sexual offenders against children or mentally disabled persons are placed on the list.
According to the latest annual crime statistics presented in Parliament last week, rape cases have increased by 1.7% from the previous year. The year on year increase of crimes against women shows that government lacks the will to enforce safety and security in South Africa.
“This week we will be celebrating Women’s Day. Some women will receive flowers and praises, but thousands will receive bruises and abuse. Talking about this problem does not help. We need to take drastic action to prevent the rape of another 42 000 women in the coming year,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of the Action Society.
Action Society is driven by a purpose to provide a voice for the voiceless and deconstruct the harsh realities we face daily. They are urging the public to sign their petition (https://www.actionsociety.co.za/national-register) to make the NRSO publicly available.
The NRSO, which was implemented in 2009 in an effort to curb the prevalence of sexual offences in SA, is kept confidential and not open to the general public. As a result numerous offenders still have access to vulnerable people in our society.
“If the South African government is genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of our women and gender based violence (GBV), the Sexual Offences Act should be amended to include the names of convicted rape perpetrators and the public should have access to this list before another life is destroyed. This will encourage transparency in our communities and help to safeguard our women,” says Gouws.
Action Society today launched a petition to urge the government to clean up and turn around state hospitals.
The sexual assault of a two-year-old in a Covid-19 isolation ward of the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Pretoria and rats drinking bloody water from blocked drains at the Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth are real examples of what is happening in South Africa’s state hospitals now.
“We need government hospitals with high standards of service delivery,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society. “An efficient workforce will help us to bring our state-owned medical institutions to an acceptable level of functionality after decades of deterioration.
“With the appointment of qualified, responsible and accountable management and staff, South Africa can turn around the neglect, which led to 3 832 deaths in Gauteng state hospitals in 2018.”
It should be standard practice for medical personnel, the department of health and the government to take responsibility and be held accountable for the 2 307 deaths of new-born babies, 238 maternal deaths, 866 septic caesareans, 1 052 reported cases of bedsores and 1,148 cases of babies suffering brain damage due to a lack of oxygen during birth.
It should be standard practice to refer deaths, injuries or suffering incurred because of incorrect medical procedures, a lack of proper working equipment or inexperienced personnel for disciplinary action. It is not acceptable to refer only 2% of these types of incidents for disciplinary action, as confirmed by the Gauteng MEC for Health, Bandile Masuku.
“More than half of South Africans depend on the national health system,” says Gouws. “They should rest assured that the person treating them or managing the hospital is competent and the best candidate for the job. They should know that health personnel have the necessary skills and experience to do their work.”
Support Action Society in their plight to clean up and turn around state hospitals, and hold government accountable for our medical facilities by signing this petition.
Action Society condemns isolation rape of 2-year-old
President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Department of Health and the South African Police Department (SAPD) are failing the children of South Africa. This comes after Gauteng police opened an investigation into allegations that a two-year-old was raped during her obligated stay in a Covid-19 isolation room.
According to an aunt the girl was referred to the Dr. George Mukhari Hospital in Pretoria on 15 June after she struggled to breath. Hospital staff told the mother to go home since her baby girl might have the coronavirus and needs to be in isolation. Upon discharge the next day the mother realised that the child was not herself and discovered that she has been sexually assaulted. After being sent from one place to the next for over two weeks, the report has finally been handed over to the Gauteng Department of Health to investigate.
Action Society calls on SA’s government and the public to hunt down the perpetrator. “It’s unacceptable for a child to be placed under the protection of the state and something like this happens. President Ramaphosa must stop making empty promises when it comes to the wellbeing of women and children in this country. Sexual offences against children are rising and radical action is needed,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society.
By making the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) public, Action Society agrees that the rights of South African civilians will finally outwit those of criminals who are protected by our law.
“Like this girl’s mother we assume that our loved ones are surrounded by people that are ‘safe’, but are they? We ought to know if we can truly trust the people we are forced to leave our children with. As long as the NRSO is kept confidential, numerous offenders still target vulnerable people in our society.”
The child pornography video which are currently being circulated are proof that the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) must urgently be made public. According to KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza the 30-second video, showing three children engaging in a sexual act, has been widely shared on various social media platforms, including Facebook and WhatsApp.
In her statement, released on Monday 8 June 2020, she expressed her shock that adults, whom we rely on to stem the tide of social ill bedevilling in our country, are behind the circulation of such a video. The South African law prohibits the presentation of pornography to children, the filming or indecent exposure of children in any sexual way, as well as compelling minors to witness a sexual act. Khoza warned the public that sharing child pornography is also a criminal offense and anyone partaking in this event could face jail time.
Action Society, newly found civil rights organisation, calls on South Africans to report anyone that circulates any videos of this nature. Action Society has also requested that those who captured this horrific video should be hunt down by the police and their names be made public.
“Adding more names to the NRSO database is of no use when perpetrators of sex crimes remain anonymous — protected by their civil right to privacy. We need to join hands in our fight for justice and urge the SA government to make the NRSO freely available,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society.