While the national DNA backlog stands at nearly 40,000 sexual offences, currently at the SAPS forensic laboratories across the country, the Western Cape Government plans to eradicate their backlog entirely before the end of the year.
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On 24 August, the backlog at provincial laboratories stood at 25,290 but has now been reduced by over 10,000 samples to 15,259.
This means that since 1 October 2021, when the backlog stood at 89,158, the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) has worked through 73,899 samples.
“The continued manner in which the FSL is working through the backlog is encouraging. Eradicating this backlog is paramount, as these samples are vital in cases of sexual assault, murders and various other matters,” said Provincial Minister of Community Safety and Police Oversight, Reagan Allen. “The more the lab is able to address their backlog, the quicker perpetrators who are standing trial can be held accountable for their crimes.”
Allen added that the FSL should have all the required resources, equipment and relevant material so that the backlog could be eradicated completely by the end of this year.
“The continued delay is just another reason why SAPS should be devolved to a capable provincial government such as ours.”
“Our latest Court Watching Briefs report for the period 1 July 2022 and 30 September 2022 indicated that 208 cases were struck off the court roll due to investigations being incomplete and various other reasons. Of these, 64 (30%) were gender-based violence (GBV) matters. There are many GBV matters, such as rape, sexual assault, attempted murder and other contact crimes that are dependent on the results from the lab,” said Allen.
Meanwhile, Police Minister Bheki Cele revealed that the country’s DNA backlog was currently in excess of 37,000 samples after it was reduced from 241,000 to 71,000 in October.
In his written response to questions regarding the backlog, posed by DA MP Andrew Whitfield, Cele said the total backlog for sexual offence cases was 37,715.
“The expected submission for Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) isolation is informed by the preliminary outcome and the evidential value, case category which differs from case to case,” Cele said.
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