Police Minister Bheki Cele says the DNA testing backlog in Forensic Science Laboratories now stands at 71 000, down from the 241 000 reported earlier this year.
The Minister had earlier announced that the backlog would be cleared by October.
Cele says the department has made some progress in addressing the crippling backlog and now aims to complete it by January next year.
He was addressing the media in Pretoria on Monday, ahead of the two-day Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Summit to be held in Midrand from Tuesday.
In an aim to strengthen the police department’s capacity, Cele says the 16 contracts that lapsed were re-instituted whilst more manpower has been procured in the Western Cape.
Cele says these are some of the measures employed to tackle gender-based violence cases.
The DNA testing backlog has served as a critical hindrance in the fight against gender-based violence and femicide.
DNA testing backlog denying GBVF victims access to justice: Lisa Vetten
Cele says strides have been made to fight the scourge.
The Summit aims to reflect on the work undertaken since the 2018 Summit, provide feedback and create a space for accountability in eradicating what President Cyril Ramaphosa has labelled a pandemic.
Despite interventions and gains, violence against women and children continues in the country.
Recently, in the Eastern Cape, when a woman, Zenizole Vena, rushed to a clinic to report her gang rape she was instead allegedly turned away and referred to the police station where she later died.
Cele has lamented the inaction of the various departments.
“The Eastern Cape was a bad kind of incident for the government, for the whole chain of us but I’m not going to, I think there were explanations given on the matter. We still feel much better could have been done by the department. But the call is one that all of us at the government level, [is that] we must be responsive to the plight of the people,” says the Minister.
Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on GBVF, says government has prioritised the employment of women in an effort to make them less dependent on men for financial support.
The summit will be held from the 1st to the 2nd of November with President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering input on Tuesday.
The video below is reporting more on the story: