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SA Crimefighters Getting on the DNA Bandwagon

Reprinted from 2OceansVibe, by Tayla – 2021-11-05

A bill focused on making it easier to track and trace violent offenders in South Africa is up for processing.

The Criminal Law Amendment Bill of 2021 was just approved for processing in parliament by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet.

Basically, if approved, it will mean that offenders convicted of schedule 8 criminal offences will be required to provide DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) samples to assist in ‘forensic procedures’ and the fight against crime in the country.

Schedule 8 offences include sexual offences, robbery, human trafficking, and culpable homicide.

This is all as per a media briefing given yesterday by the minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele, reported BusinessTech:

 

This bill, which was first announced in 2017, has a controversial past.

The main part of the bill is about taking buccal (DNA) samples from schedule 8 offenders for analysis, with all the data stored in the National Forensic DNA Database (NFDD).

But the government has thought about taking it one step further by getting DNA samples from all newborns in the country to create a more comprehensive database.

This robust DNA database will then be used for comparison during forensic criminal investigations.

Minister of police Bheki Cele had requested in 2019 that the bill be put on hold to “allow a process to investigate the possibility of all citizens of the country to be buccally sampled, including infants at birth, for identification purposes”.

For now, this is still on hold, and the changes proposed to the bill will only be updated once it begins formal parliamentary processing.

The only thing is, and it is a big thing, the system can’t even handle the DNA samples that are currently available.

It was widely reported earlier this year that there has been a massive backlog of DNA sample testing, putting forensic investigations on hold and thwarting the justice process.

The Daily Maverick reported in September that, according to Cele, Gauteng experienced the largest degree of DNA backlogs at 115%, followed by the Western Cape with 113%, KwaZulu-Natal 81%, and Eastern Cape 44%:

At the end of August, SAPS told the parliamentary police committee that by April the backlog had gone up to 210 864 cases. By mid-August, 44 537 of these cases had been successfully concluded.

Is there even space for more DNA samples, Mr President?


Cape Town attorneys SD Law & Associates are experts in bail and criminal defence. If you are arrested, contact criminal defence lawyer Simon Dippenaar on 076 116 0623. Save the number in your phone…better safe than sorry.

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