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Beware of sex offenders

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

Consult the National Register for Sex Offenders before hiring staff to care for children and those with intellectual disabilities.

If you are an employer who runs an early childhood development centre, you are among the people required by law to check if your current and potential employees are on the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO).

The NRSO falls under the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and employers must approach it to check if prospective employees are listed.

An employer also includes a parent looking to employ a house helper, a school governing body or a hospital.

The NRSO was established by an Act of Parliament in 2007. It is a record of names of those found guilty of sexual offences against children and people with intellectual disabilities.

Ntombizodwa Matjila, the NRSO Registrar, says the register contains names of both male and female offenders.

These are people who have committed offences against children and those with intellectual disabilities, such as:

  • Statutory rape;
  • Compelling or causing children to witness sexual offences;
  • Sexual acts;
  • Sexual exploitation;
  • Sexual grooming;
  • Exposure or display of child pornography to children or people with intellectual disabilities and using children or people with intellectual disabilities for pornographic purposes.

“If an employer finds out that the name of an employee appears on the register, the employer must move that employee to another post that will not bring him or her in contact with a child or an adult with an intellectual disability,” says Matjila.

If the employer is unable to move the employee to another position, they are required to terminate the employment contract.

Information contained in the NRSO includes:

  • Offenders’ full names and surname, nickname and their profession or trade;
  • Offenders’ known physical address, and any contact details, including a postal address;
  • Offenders’ identity number or passport number;
  • The type of sexual offence.

The register is not open to the public. It can only be consulted by employers to obtain clearance certificates for those whose names are being checked.

It is a crime to disclose to anyone else the information contained in the register.

For more information contact Matjila on 012 315 1656 or email NMatjila@justice.gov.za