Sexual Offences Act, 1957
|Sexual Offences Act, 1957
Immorality Act, 1957" — is a South African statute which, in its current form, criminalises prostitution and various activities related to prostitution, including brothel-keeping, procuring, and living on the proceeds of prostitution. It formerly also contained other provisions criminalising various other sexual offences, though not the crimes of rape or indecent assault, which were prohibited by the common law. These other provisions not related to prostitution were repealed by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007, which consolidated and updated the law regarding sexual offences.
The "Sexual Offences Act, 1957" (Act No. 23 of 1957) — originally and more famously known as the "|
The act was introduced by the apartheid regime, and section 16, until repealed in 1985, prohibited sex between a white person and a person of any other race. This section replaced a similar prohibition in the Immorality Act, 1927. The act also contained several provisions which discriminated against gays and lesbians: section 14, which set the age of consent at 16, was amended in 1969 to raise it to 19 for sex between men (although "sodomy" was already illegal under the common law), and amended again in 1988 to similarly raise the age of consent to 19 for sex between women. This differentiation in the age of consent was declared to be unconstitutional in 2008. Section 20A, which was inserted in 1969, prohibited any form of sexual activity between two men in any situation where more than two people were present. This section, also known as the "men at a party offence", was declared to be unconstitutional in 1998.
This version incorporates all amendments up to and including those introduced on 16 December 2007 by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007; this is the version of the act currently in force. A series of other versions are also available on Wikisource, including the version originally enacted without amendments.
To consolidate and amend the laws relating to brothels and unlawful carnal intercourse and other acts in relation thereto.
(English text signed by the Governor-General.)
(Assented to 3rd April, 1957.)
as amended by
Immorality Amendment Act, No. 68 of 1967
Immorality Amendment Act, No. 57 of 1969
Immorality and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act, No. 72 of 1985
Immorality Amendment Act, No. 2 of 1988
Criminal Law Amendment Act, No. 4 of 1992
General Law Amendment Act, No. 139 of 1992
General Law Fourth Amendment Act, No. 132 of 1993
Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, No. 32 of 2007
Be it enacted by the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty, the Senate and the House of Assembly of the Union of South Africa, as follows:―
1. In this Act, unless the contest otherwise indicates–
“brothel” includes any house or place kept or used for purposes of prostitution or for persons to visit for the purpose of having unlawful carnal intercourse or for any other lewd or indecent purpose;
“court” means the court before which the charge is brought;
“female” means a female person 18 years or older;
“house” includes a dwelling-house, building, room, out-house, shed or tent or any part thereof;
“owner” includes any person who lets or sub-lets or permits the occupation of any house or place whether in his own right or that of another;
“place” includes any field, enclosure, space, vehicle, or boat or any part thereof;
“police officer” means any member of any police force established under the authority of any law;
“unlawful carnal intercourse” means carnal intercourse otherwise than between husband and wife.
2. Any person who keeps a brothel shall be guilty of an offence.
3. The following persons shall for the purposes of section two be deemed to keep a brothel:
4. In prosecutions under this Act the onus of proving that a house or place is to be kept or used or is being kept or used as a brothel to the knowledge of the owner shall be on the prosecution: Provided that—
5. Any contract to let any house or place to be kept or used as a brothel shall be null and void.
6. Any contract of letting and hiring of any house or place which subsequently to the making of such contract becomes a brothel shall as from the date of such event be determined and become null and void: Provided that upon proof by the owner of his ignorance that the house or place was so kept or used he shall be entitled to recover the rent up to the date upon which he became aware that the house or place was being kept or used as a brothel.
7. The owner of any house or place kept or used as a brothel shall be entitled to apply to the magistrate of the district in which such house or place is situated for the summary ejectment of any person who may be keeping or using such house or place as a brothel and such magistrate shall be entitled after enquiry to order the summary ejectment of such person.
8. (1) If it appears to any magistrate on sworn information laid before him by not less than two householders of good repute that any house or place in the vicinity of the dwellings of such householders is being kept or used as a brothel or on similar information upon oath laid before him by any police officer not below the rank of sergeant, or by a welfare officer employed by a department of State responsible for Health and Welfare, a local authority or a welfare organization registered under the National Welfare Act, 1978 (Act No. 100 of 1978), the magistrate may—
(2) Any person found in or upon such house or place who, when called upon to do so by the police officer conducting the search, refuses to furnish his name and address or furnishes a name or address which is false in any material particular or refuses to disclose the name or identity of the keeper of such house or place or to produce any book, receipt, paper, document or thing which he has in his possession or custody or under his control, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding R1 000 and in default of payment to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.
(3) The issue of a warrant under paragraph (b) of sub-section (1) shall not in any way affect the power of the magistrate to issue at any time a warrant under paragraph (a) of sub-section (1) or under any other law.
10. Any person who—
shall be guilty of an offence.
12. Any person who takes or detains any female against her will—
shall be guilty of an offence.
(3) Any person shall be deemed to detain a female in or upon any house or place or in a brothel if, with intent to compel or induce her to remain in or upon such house or place or in such brothel, such person withholds from her any wearing apparel or other property to the possession of which she is entitled or which has been lent or supplied to her by such person or for the purposes of prostitution; and any such female shall be justified in taking away such wearing apparel as is necessary to enable her to leave such house or place or brothel.
12A. (1) Any person who, with intent or while he reasonably ought to have foreseen the possibility that any person, who is 18 years or older, may have unlawful carnal intercourse, or commit an act of indecency, with any other person for reward, performs for reward any act which is calculated to enable such other person to communicate with any such person, who is 18 years or older, shall be guilty of an offence.
17. Any person who being the owner or occupier of any house or place or having or acting or assisting in the management or control thereof knowingly permits the use of such house or place for the purpose of any offence against any provision of this Act, shall be guilty of an offence.
19. (1) Any person who entices, solicits, or importunes in any public place for immoral purposes shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) Any person 18 years or older who wilfully and openly exhibits himself or herself in an indecent dress or manner at any door or window or within view of any public street or place or in any place to which the public have access, shall be guilty of an offence.
20. (1) Any person who—
shall be guilty of an offence.
(1A) Any person 18 years or older who—
shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) If it is made to appear to a magistrate by information on oath that there is reason to suspect that any house is used for purposes of prostitution and that any person residing in or frequenting the house is living wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution, the magistrate may issue a warrant authorizing any police officer not below the rank of sergeant to enter and search the house and to arrest that person.
21. (1) Whenever in any prosecution under this Act the question is in issue whether any carnal intercourse between a male and a female was unlawful, such male and female shall be deemed to have been unmarried at the time of such intercourse unless the accused proves the contrary.
(3) Whenever in any prosecution under this Act a person is proved to reside in a brothel or to live with or to be habitually in the company of a prostitute and has no visible means of subsistence, such person shall, unless he or she satisfies the court to the contrary, be deemed to he knowingly living wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution.
(4) Whenever in any prosecution for an offence under section 12A it is proved—
the accused shall be presumed to have performed such act with intent or while he reasonably ought to have foreseen the possibility that such other person may have unlawful carnal intercourse, or commit an act of indecency, with such person for reward unless the contrary is proved beyond reasonable doubt.
22. Any person who is convicted of an offence under the provisions of this Act for which no special penalty is prescribed, shall be liable—
23. The laws specified in the Schedule are hereby repealed to the extent set out in the fourth column of that Schedule.
25. This Act shall be called the Sexual Offences Act, 1957.
|Province or Union.||No. and Year of Law.||Short Title or Subject of Law.||Extent of Repeal.|
|Cape.||Act No. 25 of 1893.||The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1893.||So much as is unrepealed.|
|〃||Act No. 36 of 1902.||The Betting Houses, Gaming Houses and Brothels Suppression Act, 1902.||Sections 22 to 36 inclusive.|
|Transvaal.||Ordinance No. 46 of 1903.||The Immorality Ordinance, 1903.||So much as is unrepealed.|
|Orange Free State.||Ordinance No. 11 of 1903.||The Suppression of Brothels and Immorality Ordinance, 1903.||So much as is unrepealed.|
|〃||Act No. 19 of 1908.||The Suppression of Brothels and Immorality Amendment Act, 1908.||The whole.|
|Natal.||Act No. 31 of 1903.||The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1903.||The whole.|
|Union.||Act No. 3 of 1916.||The Girls’ and Mentally Defective Women Protection Act, 1916.||The whole.|
|〃||Act No. 5 of 1927.||The Immorality Act, 1927.||The whole.|
|〃||Act No. 21 of 1950.||The Immorality Amendment Act, 1950.||The whole.|
|〃||Act No. 62 of 1955.||The General Law Amendment Act, 1955.||Section 15.|
|This work is in the public domain because it was created and first published in South Africa and it is an official text of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, or an official translation of such a text.
According to the Copyright Act, 1978, § 12 (8) (a), "No copyright shall subsist in official texts of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, or in official translations of such texts."