HOW TO EXPUNGE A CRIMINAL RECORD
A criminal record is not automatically expunged. The onus is on the person who has been wrongfully arrested to clear their name, says advocate Mofokeng Lesala, a senior lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
As soon as you are arrested and detained, your name is captured on the police system. “The South African Police Service normally keeps the criminal record on its files but there are also a number of private companies that keep it,” he says. “This means someone’s name can be removed from the police system but it’s likely to come up on the private company’s database when a background check is done.”
It’s not clear how these private companies obtain the information but Lesala says they don’t update their records regularly and so it becomes difficult to remove the data.
“A court judgement on its own doesn’t necessarily help clear your name,” Lesala warns. “You should also get a court order stamped by the registrar of the high court and send it to every company that keeps criminal records.”