SAPS inject R250 million to forensic services to clear DNA backlog cases
PARLIAMENTARIANS heard on Wednesday that the SAPS has allocated an additional R250 million to its forensic services division to deal with its procurement problems and the DNA case exhibits backlogs.
This happened when the SAPS top brass presented their turnaround plan to the police portfolio committee, saying they wanted to wipe out the DNA case exhibits backlogs in the forensic science laboratory service within the next five months.
A report tabled in the meeting showed that there were 131 509 unregistered exhibits cases and 39 566 exhibits in the process of being processed in the head office, Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
Briefing the police portfolio committee, divisional commissioner Lieutenant-General Michael Mothlala said National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole allocated to the forensic services division R250m to prioritise procurement of critical consumables, including servicing and maintenance of equipment
"It is to assist to expedite DNA processing and other forensic services," Mothlala said.
He said a total of 175 promotion posts have been advertised and 69 re-enlistment applications were considered to capacitate the forensic services, among others.
Head of SAPS forensic science laboratories Major-General Edward Ngokha said forensic science laboratory services faced insufficient funding and experienced instability at management level.
Ngokha said the laboratory had encountered submission of high volume of DNA samples and the increased workload had required additional capacity to process all exhibits.
He told MPs that there had been challenges with procurement of consumables and servicing of equipment to perform analysis.
Ngokha said load-shedding and Covid-19 added to their woes as it had impacted on their operations.
However, he said with the R250m allocation, the funding certificates have been submitted to the supply chain management division for activation of procurement processes.
He told MPs that 11 contracts have been awarded.
Ngokha said the Eastern Cape DNA laboratory contract was advertised for 14 days and was currently under consideration by the bid adjudication committee.
Ngokha detailed the measures put in place to deal with backlogs saying there was now dedicated overtime allocated for DNA processing projects, among others.
His presentation showed that the SAPS planned to wipe out the backlogs within the space of the next five months with minimal overflow to the new financial year.