The DNA backlog in the Forensics Division of the SAPS continues to grow, despite Police Minister Bheki Cele making a commitment to Parliament earlier this year that the matter is receiving urgent attention.
During the debate, Police Minister, Bheki Cele said the backlog was due to poor contract management. He said the number had stood at more than 200 000 cases.

“Not out of woods, on path moving to improvement. We are  fully aware of significant severe impact of delays. However, (we are) confident in our measures that are aimed at regaining public confidence and equally restore organisational reputation and image.”

DA MP on Police, Andrew Whitfield, says this means that more than a million samples must be analysed.

“I heard reliably that the backlog in cases now exceeds 300 000 cases. That means it is more than 1.2 million pieces of evidence waiting to be analysed. This is unacceptable delay creates backlog in criminal justice system. Criminals are allowed to roam free. We’ll write to police portfolio chairperson to ask that minister and National Commissioner Khehla Sitole, appear before the committee to explain their utter failure and even possibly misleading parliament during debate where minister said we would see turnaround in DNA case exhibits.”

Advocacy group Action Society, has called for Cele’s head to roll due to poor performance.

Spokesperson Elani van der Walt says the ever growing crisis is not getting the necessary attention from government.

“The country’s DNA backlog is estimated at over 300 000 cases. Minister Bheki Cele seems to be ignoring this crisis which is robbing victims of violent crimes and GBV (of) their day in court and ultimately, robbing them (of) justice. Without sufficient DNA evidence, cases are being struck from the roll and perpetrators walk free to rape and murder again. In a country where 116 women are raped daily, this is an outrage. There is no urgency from government to sort out this crisis.”

Attempts to get reaction from the police on what is being done to fix the Forensic Division, have been unsuccessful.

In the video below, Cele apologises for DNA Testing Backlog