Amnesty International South Africa has raised concerns over DNA backlogs at the Forensic Science Laboratories, saying cases of gender-based violence are being put on hold.
Amnesty SA has written an open letter to Police Minister Bheki Cele requesting that he updates the nation following announcements made in March that the DNA backlog would be cleared within six months.
Campaigner Sibusiso Khasa elaborates, “We are also not clear as to where the backlog stands and that is why we wrote that open letter to call on the minister to give an update because the figures we have from the Presidency and the office of the minister are very different. In terms of the department, we have reached out to the minister to ask about an update and for reasons as we haven’t received any feedback.”
Mark Rogers, who served on the National Forensics Oversight and Ethics Board, explains the backlog challenges.
“I think the biggest issues that we have seen with the backlog have been failures of leadership and management and the challenges in the environment. It’s underpinned by poor demand planning and contract management, which has resulted in contracts lapsing and not being able to renew them. Those are the challenges that we had in my time. Also, it is the consistency in the reporting of the actual figure.”
Rogers full interview below:
Delays denying victims justice
In a report covered by SABC News in April last year, families of rape survivors said the DNA test kit backlogs are prolonging their agony and preventing them from finding closure.
Experts have said these delays open the door for perpetrators to walk free and continue their crime sprees.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT – details in the video below may offend sensitive viewers