SA cracks down on child porn
13 October 2004
President Thabo Mbeki is expected to sign new amendments to the Films and Publications Act into law this month.
The new legislation will compel South Africans to report anyone involved in the production, distribution or possession of child pornography, making it an offence for computer technicians, Internet cafés and service providers - as well as ordinary people - to overlook cases of child pornography.
The amendments will also increase the minimum sentence for production, distribution or possession of child pornography from five to 10 years.
The 1996 Act - which makes the importation, production, possession and distribution of child pornography an offence - was "vague" and allowed those who were witnesses to such crimes to keep quiet, the Department of Home Affairs said.
Home Affairs Deputy Minister Malusi Gigaba told reporters in Pretoria on Tuesday that the government was contemplating regulating Internet service providers, who she said
were keen to help eradicate the scourge.
Also included in the amendments is a clause stipulating the arrest of South Africans who commit or trade in child pornography elsewhere in the world.
"This means if a person is suspected of being involved in child pornography outside South Africa, we can arrest him", Gigaba said. "The amendment does away with the long-winded extradition process.".
Gigaba added that government would set up a hotline for reporting on suspected cases involving child pornography by November.
The police arrested a man in Muldersdrift, west of Johannesburg, early this month for allegedly producing and distributing pornographic material involving children as young as seven years old.