The Department of Social Development admits they have no idea how many convicted paedophiles are roaming the Western Cape because they don’t have access to the national sexual offences registry.
This after it emerged that Brian Shofer, a convicted child sex offender, has been offering tutoring lessons to Cape Flats children on Gumtree.
Shofer’s convictions date back to 1994 and his victims, many from Mitchells Plain, were aged between seven and 14 years old.
He was released on parole but re-offended after setting up a youth facility in Hanover Park.
Shofer, who claims to be rehabilitated, began advertising for private tuition in 2012, two years after he was released from jail.
He has said he paid his debt to society and did not see anything wrong with working with children.
Yesterday Social Development MEC Albert Fritz said his department would investigate whether Shofer was on the Sexual Offender’s Registry. He claims the provincial department did not have access to the register.
“We’re really worried that we don’t have access to the register and that it’s a struggle. If we could have those files, we could update it ourselves and publicise who these people are who want to work with children,” he says.
The minister’s spokesman Sihle Ngobesi said the department would have a more detailed response to the matter today.
But children’s rights organisation Molo Songololo warns that making the registry readily available to the public could result in both offenders and their young victims being victimised by the public.
Spokesman Patric Solomons urged parents to be vigilant and investigate private tutors.
“Molo Songololo is quite concerned that a convicted criminal is advertising to work with children, we hope that the person is aware that he should not be allowed to.
“Parents also need to be vigilant, whoever works with children needs to have a police clearance certificate which shows whether or not they are on the Sex Offender’s Registry or the Child Protection Registry.
“Offenders also need to be educated so that they know what the law says about them being in close proximity with children.”
The Western Cape Education Department says private tutors were not required to register with the department.
The Daily Voice can today confirm that Brian Shofer was arrested last night, following our story featured yesterday, on another sexual assault charge.
“A 58-year-old suspect was arrested on a charge of rape and is due to appear in the Mitchells Plain Magistrates’ Court once charged," says police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk.”
* More details will follow shortly.