In Servamus: June 2017, Pollex discussed the case of S v Hewitt 2017 (1) SACR 309 (SCA) (“the Hewitt case”). (The case involved the retired, world-renowned champion tennis player and instructor, Bob Hewitt.)
The Hewitt case was about three female complainants of whom two were raped and one was sexually assaulted (this offence was known as indecent assault at the time). All three of these incidents happened quite a number of years ago (exact numbers and/or dates were not specified).
In the course of the said discussion, Pollex referred to and quoted section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (the CPA,) which provides for the “prescription of (the) right to institute prosecution” (in Afrikaans text: “verjaring van reg om vervolging in te stel”). Pollex then remarked that it must be “noted that rape is and was always, as a common law as well as a statutory offence, an offence that never ever prescribes (Afrikaans: ‘verjaar nooit nie’). ‘Indecent assault’ (which currently exists under the name of ‘sexual assault’) is and was always an offence that, in fact, prescribes after 20 years”.
Since the discussion of the Hewitt case supra, Levenstein and [seven] Others v [the late Sydney Lewis] Frankel and Others (29573/2016)  ZAGPJHC 140 (15 June 2017) appeared, in which the eight applicants applied for an order before the High Court in Johannesburg “to declare section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 to be inconsistent with the Constitution of the RSA, 1996 and invalid to the extent that it bars in all circumstances the right to institute a prosecution for sexual offences suffered by children, other than rape or compelled rape, after the lapse of a period of 20 years from the time when the offence was committed”. (Emphasis added by Pollex.)