DNA test backlog ’empowers murderers and rapists’, Parliament hears

DNA test sample. PHOTO: YouTube

The fact that there are over 200,000 outstanding DNA results backlogged in forensic science laboratory service was “empowering murderers and rapists”.

This according to African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader Kenneth Meshoe, speaking in Parliament on Tuesday during a heated Democratic Alliance (DA) sponsored debate on the DNA testing crisis, The Citizen reports.

He said the backlogs were putting the lives of victims on hold as perpetrators could not be identified.

“This miscarriage of justice must be addressed urgently. All vacancies must be filled and consumable be made available at forensic laboratories,” Meshoe said.

The number of outstanding DNA results was standing at 172,787 in February and dated back as far back as April 2019. Since, backlog has increased to 208,291 tests.

Cele apologises for DNA backlogs

Police minister Bheki Cele said that over 60,000 cases have been received by laboratories, but are yet to be analysed.

Of these, 36,526 are DNA related and 82,000 of the cases relate to gender based violence and femicide, said Cele.

Gauteng still accounts for the largest share of DNA backlogs, followed by the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Eastern Cape.

Cele acknowledged that the backlog was unacceptable and apologised.

He said that all cases related to GBV and femicide were being prioritised based on guidance from the National Prosecuting Authority.

“77,485 such cases which are court ready but have outstanding results from our forensic science laboratories are being processed,” Cele said.

He said over 2,500 of the cases have already been finalised.

Our goal is to bring normality back to the operations of the Saps Forensic science labs within the next 18 months.

Meshoe’s sentiments were echoed by IFP’s Zandile Majozi.

She said that the backlogs were a miscarriage of justice for over 150,000 people who are unable to have cases heard or concluded because of mismanagement and poor leadership.

“There are murderers and rapists roaming our communities and terrorising citizens with impunity. They operate without consequence,” Majozi said.

The Citizen / Siyanda Ndlovu