Thursday, 10 September 2020

Pretoria: Cabinet says the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) continues to plague the nation with the senseless violent assault and murder of women.

This follows the recent victims of this heinous crime, including actress Thandeka Mdeliswa (34) who was shot at her family home in Evander, in Mpumalanga and the 28-year-old woman who was killed by her husband while reporting domestic violence at the Madeira Police Station in the Eastern Cape.

“Cabinet calls for justice to be served in these crimes and others that are reported,” Cabinet said in a statement on Thursday.

Cabinet recently approved three laws that contribute towards ensuring effective and efficient protection for victims of domestic violence and GBV.

The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill, Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill of 2020 and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill of 2020 aims to strengthen laws against GBV.

The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services has invited stakeholders and interested persons to submit written submissions on the three pieces of legislation.

Domestic Violence Amendment Bill

The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill is intended to amend and insert certain definitions; further provide for the manner in which acts of domestic violence and matters related thereto must be dealt with by certain functionaries, persons and government departments; and further regulate obtaining of protection orders in response to acts of domestic violence.

The bill also delete and amend provisions of certain laws; and provide for matters connected therewith.

Criminal Matters Amendment Bill

The purpose of the Criminal Matters Amendment Bill is to amend, among other things, the Magistrates Courts Act, 1944, so as to provide for the appointment of intermediaries and the giving of evidence through intermediaries in proceedings other than criminal proceedings, the oath and competency of intermediaries, and the giving of evidence through audio-visual link in proceedings other than criminal proceedings.

It also aims to amend the Criminal Procedure Act so as to further regulate the granting and cancellation of bail; the giving of evidence by means of closed circuit television or similar electronic media; the giving of evidence by a witness with physical, psychological or mental disability; the appointment, oath and competency of intermediaries and the right of a complainant in a domestic-related offence to participate in parole proceedings.

Criminal Law Amendment Bill

The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill aims among other things to extend the ambit of the offence of incest, introduce a new offence of sexual intimidation, further regulate the inclusion of particulars of persons in the National Register for Sex Offenders, make provision for certain particulars of persons who have been convicted of sexual offences to be made publicly available and further regulate the removal of particulars of persons from the National Register for Sex Offenders.

The bill further regulates the reporting duty of persons who are aware that sexual offences have been committed against children.

Submissions must be received by no later than 9 October 2020. The public must indicate their interest in making a verbal presentation.

Enquiries must be directed to V Ramaano and submissions must be emailed to Gbvbillss@parliament.gov.za

Copies of the bills may be obtained from V Ramaano on telephone 021 403-3820 or 083 709 8427, www.parliament.gov.za or https://www.parliament.gov.za/calls-submissions-nominations.