Should the sex offenders register be made public?

Furious residents protest at the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court where Moehydien Pangaker was charged with the kidnapping and murder of eight-year-old Tazne van Wyk. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Two horrific cases of child murder have again brought the issue of parole for sexual offenders and notifiability to the fore.

The parents of 8-year-old Tazne van Wyk will never come to terms with the death of their daughter – murdered and dumped in a drain. The alleged killer, Moeyhdien Pangkaker, 54, lived next door to the Elsies River family. He had been released from prison on parole after committing a sex offence and had disappeared from the police radar.

Last month the body of 12-year-old Michaela Williams was found in bushes in 9th Avenue in Schaapkraal. The suspected killer was previously convicted of rape and released from prison a year ago. She disappeared on January 7 while playing in front of her home in Pelican Park. Like Tazne, the man charged with her murder was a neighbour.

South Africa has a National Register for Sex Offenders, which contains the details of people convicted of sexual offences against children or mentally disabled people. Those listed are prohibited from working with children or mentally disabled, and from adopting children or acting as foster parents. The public is prohibited from seeing it.

The overarching question was whether communities should be made aware of the presence of sexual predators in their area and the possibilities that these offenders could offend again.

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