Carte Blanche

Can you get a Minor Criminal Record Expunged?

02 April 2020
This Sunday (5 April) Carte Blanche investigates how a company, that presented itself as a law firm, duped prospective clients into parting with cash on the promise of having their names officially cleared of minor crimes, only to be left empty-handed.
Criminal REcord

But it can be done and it’s a simple service that the government offers for free, here’s how…

Clearing Your Criminal Record: Step-by-Step

A minor criminal offence can really hamper your chances at finding a job, going abroad and even qualifying for certain financial services. Fortunately, the South African government has made it possible for individuals to clear their record (also known as an expungement), but only if they meet certain requirements.

REMEMBER: the expungement process is free and there is no need to pay any individual or company to do it on your behalf.
The process usually takes between 20 to 28 weeks. Anyone who claims they can fast-track the process should be approached with caution.


There should be a minimum of 10 years between the date of your conviction and the date of your expungement application.

You were sentenced to prison time for no longer than a weekend (that’s from Friday 18:00 until Sunday 18:00) OR you were sentenced to do community service.

You were not jailed or sentenced without the option of a fine for any other offence during the 10-year period.

You were sentenced for the following:

  • Minor crimes (of which the charges were minor)
  • Politically motivated crimes

Your conviction was based on your race.

You were convicted of a crime which is “democratically deemed as a minor or no offence”.


You don’t qualify for expungement if any of the following apply to you:

  • You were convicted of a sexual crime against a child or mentally-challenged person.
  • Your name appears on the National Register for Sex Offenders or the National Child Protection Register.
  • Incarceration for serious offences without the option of a fine.


You can go directly to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to apply for expungement. You will need the following when submitting your application:

  • A police clearance certificate showing an interval of ten years between the date of conviction and the date of application. You can obtain this certificate from the Criminal Record Centre of the SA Police Service.
  • A completed Application for Expungement of a Criminal Record form which can be downloaded here.

The complete form along with any additional documentation must be sent via post or delivered by hand to the Director General: Justice and Constitutional Development:

Private Bag X81

Momentum Centre
329 Pretorius Street (corner Pretorius and Prinsloo Street)

Should you meet all the necessary requirements, and the Director General is satisfied that you qualify, a certificate of expungement will be issued to the Criminal Record Centre of the South African Police Service.

Once the Criminal Record Centre has received the expungement certificate, you will be notified in writing that your criminal record has been cleared. 


Sources: SAPS | Department of Justice and Constitutional Development