237 631 ‘Crime-related DNA tests’ outstanding – Ramaphosa, Cele and Sitole have no value

FF Plus

237 631 ‘Crime-related DNA tests’ outstanding – Ramaphosa, Cele and Sitole have no value
237 631 'Crime-related DNA tests' outstanding - Ramaphosa, Cele and Sitole have no value

Despite the government and police service’s assurances that the backlog with forensic DNA tests in crime-related cases is being addressed, the situation is still getting worse by the day.

According to the reply to an official question by the FF Plus, the backlog with DNA tests was 172 787 in February this year. On 11 May 2021, 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.

The number of outstanding tests has risen sharply since February this year – with a staggering 64 844. Additionally, vitally important contracts relating to the procurement of chemical agents as well as the service, maintenance and calibration of equipment are also still outstanding.

The FF Plus will pose a follow-up question seeing as it is one of the main contributing factors to the growing crisis.

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.

In May, President Ramaphosa stated in Parliament that the backlogs are “totally unacceptable” and that the police service is “working hard to eradicate these backlogs”. He had, at the time, also undertaken to ask the private sector for assistance.

Minister Cele stated, during a parliamentary debate on the backlogs, that the situation is critical and has an “enormous impact on the settlement of court cases relating to serious crimes, like murder and rape”.

It has since become abundantly clear that no value can be placed on the promises of the President or the Minister of Police in regard to this crisis, and the situation will end in disaster if it is not turned around on the highest level.

The situation was caused by various factors, like infighting between Cele and Sitole, vacancies in critical positions of the police service’s forensic division, which was mainly caused by Affirmative Action (AA), and mismanagement that, among other things, resulted in shortages of chemical agents and the like.

In light of the fast-growing crime rate, the government cannot keep paying lip service about finding and implementing solutions. The system is failing women in particular as they are mostly the victims of gender-based crimes.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Dr Pieter Groenewald on FF Plus