South Africa: Call for sex offenders’ list to be made public

[ – 1/24/19]

DURBAN – Child rights organisation Save the Children has launched an online petition calling on Police Minister Bheki Cele to make the National Registrar for Sex Offenders (NSRO) public.

The NSRO is not available to the general public, but only to those who employ people who work with children or disabled people.

The list helps with protection by ensuring the names of sex offenders are registered in order to prevent them from working with children and the disabled.

Nicolette Myburgh, the director of social services at Tutela, a community-based non-profit organisation with a group of autonomous organisations, including Save the Children, said that the information could prove vital for many South Africans, especially since cases of sexual offences were so high.

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Not that I’d ever want to go there but I sent this message to Child rights Organisation Save the Children via email:


I saw this article and wanted you to know that in the US, 95+% of new sex crimes are NOT committed by someone on a registry. I can provide you with multiple reports to back this up, if you are willing to listen. This statement, “Children in South Africa are at risk and if a person doesn’t disclose (their status), you will never know if they are a sex offender,” Myburgh said., is absolutely false. Surely the kids are at risk but like I said, 95+% of new sex crimes are NOT committed by someone on a registry.

Also in the article it was said that “She said that generally there was a good reception to the petition, with many people throwing their weight behind it.” The only people who throw their weight behind it are emotionally and fear driven, registries do NOT prevent any crime.


Predictably terrible idea. The Americianization of unwarranted fear has gone global.

Children in South Africa are more at risk of famine, diseases and murder.

I also wrote the organization, as follows:

To Whom it May Concern:

I recently read an IOL article where your organization has started a petition to make the NSRO publicly accessible. I recommend you do a little research before taking that position, based on the results of 20+ years of such policy in the United States.

The fact is that well over 90% of new sex crime is not committed by those currently on the registry. The fact is that sex offender registrants are among the lowest recidivists of any crime in general (sex crime in particular), second only to murderers. The fact is that the registry has never prevented one single sex crime from commission. The fact is that the registry has never played a role in the investigation of a sex crime. The fact is that the costs of creating and maintaining the proposed registry are astronomical and there is no upgrade or improvement that could be made (also with astronomical costs) that will make it beneficial.

While the article mentioned how the public could obtain registry information, it says nothing about what the public is supposed to do with the information or how it (supposedly) makes them safer. Despite 20+ years of a public registry in the United States, not one legislator or law enforcement official has ever made clear what steps someone is supposed to take to protect themselves from registrants (assuming such protection is necessary, which recidivism research has indicated is not). Not one single law enforcement official can show a case that would have been unsolvable but for the registry.

Further, what about the children of registrants? They’re affected by the hardships and discrimination imposed on their registrant parents as well. Are they not worthy of your advocacy? Is it your organization’s position that children of registrants are better off in the government foster care system? While that may be true in a few isolated cases (such as where the children are the victims of the registrant’s offense), it is certainly not true in all cases across the board.

Unfortunately, sex crime is and always will be a problem in any society, and will probably never be totally eliminated. But as demonstrated in the United States, a public registry does nothing to reduce it. Take a little time to research the effects of the American registry and you will find that is nothing more than a failed social experiment. Duplicating it would certainly lead to the same failed result.

Frankly, I don’t anticipate a response. Will post it here if I do.