DA says DNA evidence backlog denies justice to victims

The Democratic Alliance said it submitted a dossier to the National Council on Gender-Based Violence in which it mapped out the need to eradicate the scourge as well as to resolve the massive backlog in DNA specimens needing to be analysed.

FILE: Provincial government leaders said more than 36,000 sexual offence cases were outstanding as a result of neglected machines at the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory in Plattekloof. Picture: Pixabay.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Western Cape has asked the president's National Council on Gender-Based Violence to resolve a DNA analysis backlog in the province.

Provincial government leaders on Wednesday said more than 36,000 sexual offence cases were outstanding as a result of neglected machines at the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory in Plattekloof.

The DA said it submitted a dossier to the National Council on Gender-Based Violence in which it mapped out the need to eradicate the scourge as well as to resolve the massive backlog in DNA specimens needing to be analysed.

Social Development Standing Committee Chairperson Gillion Bosman said a maintenance contract for DNA processing machines at the laboratory had lapsed in May 2019.

“We want to also highlight the plight of victims of gender-based violence in this province, and how victims are waiting for justice,” he said.

Bosman has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa and the council to step up to resolve challenges at the Forensic Science Laboratory.

“One of the solutions that we've identified to do this, is for a partnership between academic institutions between the private sector, and between the South African forensic lab, so that these samples can be processed quicker,” he said.

Officials said an oversight visit to the forensic laboratory revealed it would take around 18 months to eradicate the DNA analysis backlog. The police ministry said it would look into the claims.

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