DA welcomes reduction in DNA backlog, but still seeking more details of the process
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Cape Town - The DA provincial spokesperson for Social Development Gillion Bosman has welcomed a reported 28% decrease in backlogged sexual offence DNA cases at the SAPS laboratories in the Western Cape, but is seeking details of the process.
Bosman was commenting after receiving a response to a written question to Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, in which he had asked how many sexual offences cases were backlogged because of delayed DNA processing at the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Cape Town.
Fritz shared the response received from SAPS which said the latest available figures showed that the number of the backlogged cases, which were related to sexual offences, as at September20, was 27,146 down from 37,647 in July.
SAPS said that Police Minister Bheki Cele had initiated several interventions with the police and FSL management, focused on addressing the root causes underlying the DNA backlog at the FSL.
SAPS advised that while the Crime Index (CI) Lane instruments are fully operational, the Reference Index (RI) Lane instruments are not fully operational.
“Even though the RI Lane is not fully operational, there is a daily output of cases for finalisation with the limited resources. The RI Lane was expected to be fully operational within two weeks. The approval of the requisitions is awaited.
“In the absence of instruments at the CI Lane, the FSL processed the samples/cases manually,” said SAPS.
Bosman said: “While the decrease in backlogged cases is welcome, details remain sketchy around the engagements of Police Minister Bheki Cele with the Western Cape SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL).
“When I asked about any efforts by the national minister to deal with the backlog, the response I got was vague and they said they were focused on addressing the root causes underlying the DNA backlog at the FSL.
“I have for that reason submitted additional requests for specific details of the four interventions and meetings that Minister Cele is said to have initiated with SAPS and the FSL in May, June and September,” said Bosman.