Jeffery shines light on gender-based violence and femicide bills
17 Mar 2021
The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill is one of three bills currently before parliament intended to contribute to the fight against the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide.
The deputy minister of justice and constitutional development, John Jeffery, referred to the bills during an address at an International Women’s Day celebration hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.
The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill, Domestic Violence Amendment Bill and Criminal Matters Amendment Bill were tabled in parliament in 2020.
According to a cabinet statement issued prior to tabling, the bills respond to a number of issues raised during the Presidential Summit Against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide held in 2018 in respect of the criminal justice system.
The amendments provide a victim-centred response in the criminal justice system to sexual offences.
Cabinet also indicated that bail conditions for perpetrators of sexual offences will be tightened and 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.
According to the deputy minister, the proposed amendments are “intended to ensure that offences which have a bearing on gender-based violence and femicide are regarded and treated as serious offences”.
Meanwhile, the department seeks comment on proposed new e-rules and amendments to the Uniform and Magistrates’ Courts Rules for the electronic civil justice system.
In a statement, the department points out that the proposed new e-rules and amendments seek to regulate the processes relating to filing and service of pleadings and documents and the hearing of cases, electronically.
They flow from a Rules Board for Courts of Law Task Team set up in 2018 to investigate and make recommendations on the amendment of the rules of the Superior Courts and the Magistrates’ Courts to facilitate the use of electronic systems and to recommend new rules where necessary.
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