How To Conduct A Criminal Record Background Check In South Africa With An ID

A criminal record background check is commonly carried out for several reasons, including employment, business transactions, childcare, and adoption. Also known colloquially as a rap sheet, information on criminal records varies from one country to another. In some countries, a criminal record background on an individual covers cases like traffic offenses, arrest, pending charges, dismissed charges, as well as charges that were dismissed while criminal records in some countries contain only actual convictions.

Police Record, as it is also known, is not only used for assessing someone’s behavioral history, it can as well be used to determine a person’s trustworthiness and for immigration. In South Africa, criminal record background can be checked or obtained through the South African Police Service (SAPS).

What Does Criminal Record Mean In South Africa?

A criminal record is a document issued by the police that contains a person’s criminal timeline. The list clearly indicates all the criminal offenses committed by someone, including all the convictions where such a person pleaded guilty to a crime or was found guilty for breaking the law.

In South Africa, once a person is charged and not found guilty of a particular crime, nothing will be listed on his criminal records, unlike what is obtainable in some countries. According to a top police officer, criminal records of individuals can only be released with their consents, but there are cases where it can be released without the approval of the individual in question. This can take place when there is a special request from courts and other police units.

How To Carry Out A Criminal Record Background Check In South Africa With An ID

A criminal record background check is done in South Africa through an automated fingerprint identification service (AFIS). To throw more light, Afiswitch is a Centurion, Gauteng-based company that offers “a national automated electronic criminal record check against the South African Police Service criminal fingerprint database.”

Criminal Record Background Check
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The organization works together with the South African police and provides services to clients on their behalf. They conduct a criminal record background check by connecting with the South African Police Service Automated Fingerprint Identification System (SAPS AFIS). Afiswitch is said to have entered a partnership with the government through a gazette agreement (vol. 496, no. 29319), dated 27 October 2006.

Requirements For Checking Your Criminal Background Online

  • First, you need to visit the South African Police Service (SAPS) website.
  • Pick up your police clearance certificate application and enter your inquiry number allocated to the application.
  • If you are a South African citizen, your South African identity number is enough to do the checking.
  • You can make use of your date of birth and surname to carry out the operation if you didn’t find your record with your ID.

How to Carry Out A Criminal Record Background Check

This is how the process of finding out about one’s criminal record background with an ID is being conducted:

  • Afiswitch registers a service provider on its platform.
  • After that, they provide the firm with a setup and workstation, which the firm will then use to register people whose criminal record background is to be checked.
  • The service provider will then enter a user ID, as well as a matching fingerprint. But, first, the service provider must sign on an Afiswitch workstation.
  • Other things that are needed for the smooth operation of the background check include the applicant’s demographic data, an Afiswitch live-scan fingerprint reader and workstation, as well as ten fingerprints.
  • Once the aforementioned are taken care of, the workstation will then transfer the data to Afiswitch using a secure internet connection.
  • Afiswitch will then transmit the electronic fingerprints to the SAPS AFIS sub-system for identification purposes.
  • Once the fingerprint search is completed, the SAPS AFIS will immediately send a Hit or No-hit feedback to Afiswitch.
  • No illegal activity result or possible unlawful event feedback will be returned to the service provider by Afiswitch.
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What Shows Up On A Criminal History Background Check?

Generally, criminal history background shows records of sex offenses, arrests, felony, warrants, incarceration records, misdemeanor convictions, and even court records. Criminal background information is limited to certain records in some countries. In South Africa, the case is the same as not every record found in some countries’ criminal record background are found therein.

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Once a background check is processed and a match is found on the AFISwitch system, the SAPS will go ahead to process an AFISwitch hard copy report (SAPS69) for return to the applicant.

For the records, only a SAP69 will indicate if the candidate was found guilty of the offense or if there is a pending case against the individual. There have, however, been cases where the SAPS has not updated their records.

The result contains the following:

  • Applicant’s full name
  • South African identity number (or passport number if they are non-South African)
  • The charge
  • The case number
  • The date of the offense
  • The town in which the offense occurred
  • The sentence handed down
  • The date of the sentencing
  • Pending cases with all the information mentioned above.

What Looks Bad On A Criminal History Background Check?

People fail a criminal history background check for so many reasons, including having an extensive criminal record and multiple felony convictions. Some of the things that trigger concern if they are found on a person’s criminal background history include theft, robbery, and burglary, failed drug test, driving offenses, employment issues, sexual offenses, criminal offenses, as well as violence against another individual such as assault, attempted murder, murder, and much more.

What is the Cost of a Criminal Record Background Check?

Payment for a criminal record background check can be manually and electronically. If you wish to pay electronically, then it will be into the SAPS account in favor of the national commissioner of the South Africa Police Service. However, it will cost R11,400 if you are paying at the police station.

Payment details are given as follows:

  • ABSA Cheque Account Number: 4054522787
  • Swift Code: ABSA ZAJJ
  • Branch Code: 632005.

For electronic payment, there must be a reference for the letters “PCC,” which is followed by the initial surname of the applicant.

How Long Does it Take to Get your Report?

If there is an illicit activity found on the AFISwitch system, the South African police will go ahead to process an AFISwitch hard copy report (SAPS69), which will be sent back to the applicant, as earlier mentioned. It takes between three to four weeks for the SAPS69 to automatically generate the record. In a situation where no unlawful event is found on a person’s criminal record, the result will be forwarded to the applicant immediately.

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An applicant also has the right to complain if the person does not agree with the results. The South African police simply correct any error identified and forward the result back to the applicant.

How Many Years Back Can The Check Go?

Generally, background checks can trace back the history or record of a person, but they can go back further depending on what is being looked up for and compliance laws. While background checks cover seven years of criminal records in most countries, that of South Africa is not clearly stipulated. However, what matters most is that criminal background checks can be traced back.

Is Criminal Record The Same As Police Clearance Certificate?

A police clearance certificate is a statement proving that a person doesn’t have a criminal record or a copy of someone’s criminal record. In South Africa, a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) is issued by the Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management (CR & CSM) while the South African police service works with Afiswitch in carrying out a person’s criminal record background check.

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