Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

DNA backlog crisis sees cases stand at 237 000

By Tarryn-Leigh Solomons Time of article published Sep 21, 2021

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FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald not impressed with assurances that the crisis was being addresssed.

Cape Town - The backlog in forensic DNA tests in crime-related cases continues to grow with the number of outstanding cases reaching 237 631 since 1 March 2021.

This was revealed by Police Minister Bheki Cele when he was responding to parliamentary questions from FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald, who warned that the situation was getting worse.

According to Cele, the biology unit of the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory’s head office in Pretoria has a backlog of 137 849 DNA tests while the figure for the Western Cape unit stands at 83 292.

KwaZulu-Natal’s biology unit has a backlog of 8 519 and the Eastern Cape’s figures is at 7 971.

The DNA cases were outstanding for a period of between 36 and 1 201 days, Cele said.

Groenewald was not impressed with assurances by government and police services that the DNA tests crisis was being addressed.

“On the 11th of May, the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, said that the number stood at 208 291 and according to the most recent reply that the FF Plus received from the Minister, the backlog has grown to 237 631. Some cases have been dragging on for more than three years due to outstanding test results.

“What makes matters even worse is that President Cyril Ramaphosa, Minister Cele and General Khehla Sitole, national Police Commissioner, have all admitted on more than one occasion that this is indeed a crisis and they also undertook to immediately address the problem,” Groenewald said.

He added that the system was failing women in particular as they were mostly the victims of gender-based violence.

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Political Bureau

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