Cele: National backlog in DNA forensic testing now at over 208,000

Cele said more than 77,000 gender-based violence and femicide cases were court-ready but awaiting DNA results and had been prioritised, while more than 2,500 have been finalised.

FILE: Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Bheki Cele has revealed that the national backlog in the forensic testing of DNA samples now stands at more than 208,000.

The backlog was around 173,000 in March.

However, Cele told the National Assembly on Tuesday the police were pulling out all the stops to clear the backlog.

He’s also apologised for the pain and anguish caused by the delays.

An alarming figure from Cele: “Currently, the national backlog at our forensic science laboratories stands at 208, 291 – not 225,000, not 172,000 but 208,291. Over 60,000 of these have been received by the laboratory but have not been analysed; 36,626 are DNA-related and 82,000 of these are related to gender-based violence and femicide.”

Cele said the backlog built up rapidly after a service provider halted its automated track and trace system, meaning this had to be done manually. A lack of consumables used in testing was due to contract mismanagement.

He said the turnaround plan included a new track and trace system, which was already in place and that he hoped the police forensic services would be functioning normally again within 18 months.

Cele said more than 77,000 gender-based violence and femicide cases were court-ready but awaiting DNA results and had been prioritised, while more than 2,500 have been finalised.

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