Most South Africans think that they don’t have a criminal record. The notion centres around major crimes like theft, robbery, murders, sexual assaults only being recorded. On the contrary, you could have a criminal record after getting into a fight at a bar or being over the legal blood alcohol limit when driving.
Even if the crime happened a few years ago, the consequences of having a criminal record could follow you for a lifetime. For that reason, you should keep yourself informed so that you aren’t caught off-guard by a criminal record you may not even know about. For that reason, if you want to complete a criminal record check online in South Africa, the following information will help you get started.
Why Does Having A Criminal Record Matter?
If you have ever read a job description, you will see that most employers request that applicants don’t have a criminal record.
According to SAPS, many of those who receive criminal records receive them for innocuous crimes they may not even know they’re committing. Of those who hold criminal records, most are young men between 18 and 40, and the infringements they are charged with are usually a once-off event. Unfortunately, the penalty for having a criminal record includes fewer job opportunities, the inability to travel or emigrate because you can’t get a visa, and harsher penalties if you ever commit another crime.
These consequences can continue for a decade after you’ve been charged with the crime.
Even working for the gig economy – with companies like Uber – requires that you don’t have a criminal record.
How To Check Your Criminal Record Online
If you want to check to see if you have a criminal record online in South Africa, you will need to use a third-party service that has access to the AFIS network and can retrieve the information from the SAPS database.
Using a Third Party to Check Your Criminal Record Online
Several third parties offer criminal record checks online. One such provider is HURU. The platform is simple to navigate, and HURU has partnered with a large network of providers across the country where you can have your fingerprints scanned.
To get started using HURU to check your criminal record online, you will need to complete the following steps.
Step 1: Visit HURU’s Website To Find A Capture Locations
To check your criminal record online in South Africa, you can visit the HURU website. On the website, you will see a tab titled “NATIONAL LOCATIONS” at the top right of the screen. Click on this to be redirected to a list of locations.
You can then enter your location in the search bar to find partners close to your location.
Keep in mind, most of HURU’s locations are within city centres like Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town.
Step 2: Get Your Fingerprints Captured
At one of HURU’s partner locations, you will need to provide your ID or passport. You will then have your fingerprints scanned into the AFIS database and linked to a HURU profile. To do this, you do not need to make an appointment; however, you may want to call the partner location ahead of time to ensure they have someone available to complete this process.
Step 3: Login To Your HURU Profile
Once your fingerprints have been captured at one of HURU’s capture locations, you will receive login details via SMS.
You can sign in to HURU’s website with these login details to complete your online criminal check enquiry.
Step 4: Select Your Reason and Pay The Fee
To complete the process, you will be requested to input your reason for requesting the criminal record check. Depending on your selection, a pricing table that allows you to choose the turnaround time that most reflects your needs will pop up.
HURU’s fees range from R165 to R400, depending on the timeframe you need the results and the reason for your request.
You can pay these through retail partners or online with a debit or credit card.
It’s also good to note that HURU’s online criminal record results are vetted against information on the SAPS as well as the home affairs databases.
Completing A Criminal Record Check of A Job Applicant or Tenant Online
If you want to ensure that you’re not hiring a potential danger or renting your home or property to a criminal, you should also use an online criminal record check in South Africa.
While there is a cost associated with submitting candidates for criminal record checks, the peace of mind and cost-saving you receive because you know your applicant isn’t potentially dangerous is priceless.
You can complete many of the same steps mentioned above, except you should consider coming to an arrangement with the employee or tenant regarding payment.
If you have additional questions about HURU, you can contact them on 010 593 4491 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you aren’t within proximity to a HURU partner location, you can visit the Afiswitch website to find a service provider close to you. Afiswitch has providers across the country, including major city centres.
How To Expunge A Criminal Record
If you already have a criminal record or discover that you have a criminal record through this process but haven’t committed a crime in more than 10 years, you can have your previous record expunged. You will need to visit your Local Criminal Record Centre and request a Police Clearance Report. The fee for this report is R70. You will then be able to begin the process of having your criminal record expunged.
Applying For South African Police Clearance Certificate
Many of those who want to know whether they have a criminal record will do so because they want to maximise international employment opportunities. If you want to work abroad – or require proof of no criminal record to emigrate or to travel – you can apply for a SAPs clearance certificate.
The document which is issued by the Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management confirms that you do not have a criminal record, nor are you a suspect in an ongoing investigation. To receive your certificate, you’ll need to complete the following steps.
Step 1: Get Your Fingerprints taken on a 91(a) Form
If you’re currently living in South Africa, you will need to complete a 91(a) form to get your police clearance certificate. You can request the 91(a) from your local police station. To complete the form, you will also need to include your fingerprints.
Step 2: Attach A Certified Copy of Your ID
You will then need to attach a certified copy of your ID to the 91(a) form. You can have a copy of your ID certified at the police station while you’re filling in the necessary forms.
Step 3: Pay The Non-Refundable Process Fee
Once completing the form, you will be required to pay the R150 processing fee to submit the form. You can do this at the police station where you’re completing the form, or you can pay it in advance to the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service to the following account details:
Bank: ABSA Cheque
Account Number: 4054522787
Branch code: 632005
Swift Code ABSAZAJJXXX
Reference Number: PCC + initials and surname of the applicant
Step 4: Send the Documents to the CR & CSM in Pretoria
Finally, you will need to submit the documentation to the Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management in Pretoria. You can either ask your local police department to forward the documentation to the relevant department. Alternatively, you can send the documents in the mail to:
The Head: Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management (For attention: Police Clearance Certificates)
South African Police Service
Bothongo Plaza West
CRC Client Service Centre
1st Floor, Room 14
271 Francis Baard Street
Step 5: Wait The Prescribed Time to Receive an Outcome
After submitting your forms, you will only receive your police clearance certificate within 15 business days after all your information has been received by the CR & CSM. If any information is outstanding, you will receive an SMS from the CR & CSM department and will be required to begin the process again.
If the process is taking longer than anticipated, you can check your progress online by visiting the SAPS Police Clearance Certificate website.
Step 6: Pick Up Your Police Clearance Certificate
If you are issued a police clearance certificate, you will need to pick it up from your local police station in person. You will need to bring along your ID before the clearance certificate can be handed to you.
Checking your criminal record online in South Africa doesn’t have to be a challenge. Unfortunately, there is a cost involved, and there isn’t a way to get it directly from SAPS or home affairs.