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Expungement of a criminal record

Expungement is a procedure which results in the lawful clearance and removal of a criminal record on an individual’s record from the National Criminal Register.

The criteria which need to be met to potentially qualify for a clearance are listed below:

  1. There should be a 10 year interval between the date of the conviction of your offence and the application.
  2. You received a sentence where you were either imprisoned from Friday 18:00 to Sunday 18:00, or a community-based sentence.
  3. You have not been sentenced and jailed for any other offence during those 10 years, without the option of a fine.
  4. You were sentenced to the following sentence:
  • Minor crimes – for which there were minor charges.
  • Politically motivated crimes; these are crimes where there is “political or ideological intention or motivation to cause harm”.
  1. Your conviction was based on your race.
  2. You were convicted of an offence which would democratically be considered as a minor or no offence.

You will not qualify for clearance if the following occurs:

  1. You were condemned of a sexual transgression against a child or a mentally-challenged person.
  2. Your name appears in the National Register for sex offenders or the National Child Protection Register, unless it has been removed from the National Register.
  3. Serious cases incarceration without the option of a fine.

There are several organisations you could contact to apply for the expungement of a criminal record for you at a fee, e.g. Expunge-Criminal-Record and Fresh Start Law Centre.  Alternatively, an individual can do their own application and go directly to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development themselves.

 Procedure to follow to obtain an Expungement of Criminal Record:

A Police Clearance Certificate showing an interval of 10 years between the conviction(s) and sentence(s) must be obtained from the Criminal Record Centre of the South African Police Service; this is to confirm the details and dates of the offence.

Complete the application for expungement of a criminal record and attach all necessary documentation.  The clearance certificate must also be attached to the application.

The completed application form and attached documentation must be posted or delivered by hand to the Director-General: Justice and Constitutional Development:

Postal Address: Private Bag X 81
Pretoria
0001

Street Address: Momentum Centre
329 Pretorius Street (corner Pretorius & Prinsloo streets)
Pretoria
0001

If the Director - General is satisfied that a person meets the requirements they will issue a certificate of expungement directing that the convictions and sentences be expunged.

A certificate of expungement will be issued to the Criminal Record Centre of the South African Police Service.

The Head of the Criminal Record Centre will inform the applicant in writing that his convictions and sentences have been expunged.

Please note this process usually takes about 20 – 28 weeks.