A new bill could see sexual offences going back up to 20 years being prosecuted has been approved by Cabinet, IOL reported. Communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane reportedly told the media on Thursday that Cabinet had approved the bill, which will amend the Criminal Procedure Act if approved.
It allows for charges of sexual offences to be prosecuted up to 20 years after they happened.
The changes are to give effect to a South Gauteng High Court judgment which found the act unconstitutional because it did not allow for prosecutions of 20-year-old offences.
"What it [the bill] seeks to do is also to help the vulnerable who can't, when abused, be in a position to speak for themselves," Mokonyane reportedly said.
This comes as former ANC MP Jennifer Ferguson accused soccer boss Danny Jordaan of raping her 25 years ago.
According to Eyewitness News, Mokonyane added,
"Sometimes it can take a while for the victim(s) to break the silence. So, it's that intervention, and it will help the current development because now they will be a basis, in terms of the law, to prosecute such crimes."
The bill will also reportedly extend the list of sexual offences that can be prosecuted.
Mokonyane reportedly said, "The amendments will allow the National Prosecuting Authority wider discretion to institute prosecutions in sexual offences in accordance with Chapter two of the Constitution," according to Business Tech.
According to News24, the victims of billionaire Sydney Frankel brought the case before the South Gauteng High Court. They were successful in 2017. The eight victims said they had been sexually assaulted by Frankel 30 years before his death. They reportedly laid criminal charges in 2015 but the case could not proceed due to the statute of limitations on criminal prosecutions.
Frankel reportedly died of cancer in 2017, just a few months before the victims won their court case.