The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) this morning in respect of the Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Act (SOA). The DA is also pleased with the speedy manner in which the court dealt with this incredibly important matter.
The SCA overturned an earlier Western Cape High Court decision which held that criminal charges could not be successfully pursued and prosecuted in respect of sexual offences under the SOA, because no specific penalties had been provided for.
The SCA held that the penalty provisions in section 276 of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) empowered courts to impose sentences upon people convicted of sexual offences under the SOA, and that it was not essential for the penalties to be contained in the SOA itself.
This judgment establishes a vital precedent and provides certainty on a very important legal principle.
Any other outcome would have had a seriously negative impact on convictions for sexual offences obtained under the Act to date, and would have a devastating effect on the fight against sexual offences, which are so prevalent in our country.
Given that the NPA has been withdrawing cases and the South African Police Service (SAPS) has not been arresting people pending this decision, this victory now enables them to continue with their fight against sexual offences with renewed confidence.