DNA backlog reduced by over 63 000 within 10 months
Western Cape Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen says he notes the reduction in the DNA backlog at the Western Cape SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL).
Since 1 October 2021, when the backlog stood at 89 158, it has been reduced to 25 290 as at 23 August 2022. This means over the last 10 months, the FSL has worked through 63 868 samples.
Minister Reagen Allen said: “This is an important development, as these samples are very vital in cases of sexual assault, murders and various other matters. The more the lab is able to address their backlog, the quicker perpetrators who are standing trial can be held accountable for their crimes. This also ensures that there isn’t secondary trauma for the victims, who might be waiting a very long time for their matter to be finalised. The continued backlog remains deeply concerning and is yet another reason why SAPS should be devolved to a capable government such as ours. Under our watch, the lab would at all times function optimally, and matters be dealt with speedily.”
“Our recent Court Watching Briefs report for the period 1 April 2022 and 30 June 2022 indicated that of the 198 cases that were struck off the court roll due to investigations being incomplete and various other reasons, 18.2% (36) were GBV matters. There are many GBV matters, such as rape, sexual assault, attempted murder and other contact crimes that are dependent on the results from the lab,” continued Minister Reagen Allen.
Minister Reagen Allen added: “Previously there were deep concerns with the state of the lab, as there was a lack of consumables, while instruments were not serviced and maintained, due to contracts not being in place. I now also note that the lab is in a better position to address the rest of the backlog, as since September 2021, it has a service and maintenance contract in place for the service and maintenance, as well as the procurement of consumables.”
“I urge the scientist at this lab to eradicate the current backlog before the end of this year. I’m looking forward to returning to the lab in due course, to ascertain the progress that is being made,” concluded Minister Reagen Allen.
Spokesperson for Minister Reagen Allen
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