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May 22 2015

Should South African offenders be able to dump their criminal records?

In a recent speech, Minister Masutha brought up what he called “the acid test for the country’s correctional system”: “the successful social reintegration of offenders as law-abiding citizens”. He stated that during the 2014|2015 year, 212 parolees and probationers were given “start-up tools to enable them to open their own businesses”.

The reason why such individuals would be encouraged to take an entrepreneurial route, other than a general employment problem, is clear: many South Africans balk at employing people with a criminal record. Masutha proposed beginning the discussion on a possible amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act to look at shortening the time in which a criminal record follows offenders around. He clarified that “our focus will remain on those who committed minor, and non-violent crimes”.