Brand murder case a stark reminder of how DNA backlog crisis is delaying justice
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Cape Town – The Brand murder case clearly demonstrates the urgency with which South Africa’s DNA backlog crisis – which at the last known date was standing at 200 000 DNA case exhibits – has to be addressed, says Annette van Wyk, a DA councillor at Phokwane Municipality.
Danie Brand, 83, his wife Breggie, 73, and their eldest daughter Elzabe, 54, were about to sit down to Sunday lunch on July 26 last year when they were attacked. The incident occurred on their smallholding in Hartswater, Northern Cape.
On the evening of July 27, Elzabe's body was found in a field about 25km away from their farm. Her parents' bodies were found in shallow graves in the early hours of July 28, about a kilometre away from where Elzabe was found.
Khomotso Mpumlwana, 43, Tshepo Visagie, 36, Donald Seolesang, 20, Tshepaone Melato, 19, and Realeboga Manyedi, 18, were subsequently charged with robbery, kidnapping and murder. Police had recovered a Sahara laptop and Samsung J5 cellphone which were pawned at a shop for R400.
Yet, the National Forensic Science Laboratory is apparently only now busy with the DNA exhibits from the triple-murder case. This came to light in the Hartswater Magistrate’ Court today, where the trial had to be postponed until August 12 due to the outstanding DNA results, said Van Wyk.
’’Today’s umpteenth delay has once again stood in the way of justice serving its course. DNA backlogs should not be delaying the successful conviction of perpetrators of murders and violent crimes, for undetermined periods of time.
’’DNA results should instead be used as a real-time tool, to speed up the drawn-out processes of the justice system, so that criminals can get their deserved sentences, while all those affected by crime can also get closure as soon as possible.
’’For the sake of combating violent crime, the situation needs urgent and dedicated attention from the South African Police Service. The DA will again engage with acting provincial police commissioner Major-General Henriette de Waal, appealing to the SAPS to keep the pressure on the laboratory for the DNA results of this priority case.
’’The DA will continue to monitor all court proceedings related to this case, further maintaining the pressure from our side to ultimately secure successful convictions of the perpetrators of the Brand murders.’’