The Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal that the catastrophic backlog in processing DNA case exhibits at the National Forensic Science Laboratories (NFSL) is nearing 100 000 cases, denying thousands of victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and other crimes, recourse to justice.

The third quarter performance report presented to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police earlier this year by the South African Police Service (SAPS) for the financial year 2019/20, revealed that by the third quarter SAPS had only finalised 62% of case exhibits within the required 90 day period. The processing of DNA case exhibits is measured against a target which requires 80% of all case exhibits to be finalised within 90 days.

This 62% amounts to only 27 801 out of 44 253 case exhibits processed within 90 days which means that by the end of the third quarter 16 452 were not processed timeously. SAPS is yet to present their fourth quarter report to Parliament, however I am reliably informed that the situation has worsened and that the backlog has now exploded to nearly 100 000 DNA case exhibits which have not been finalised.

Given the urgency of the situation I have written to President Cyril Ramaphosa calling on him to intervene where the Minister of Police has failed and address this issue which has left thousands of GBV victims stranded without justice.

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Without a fully functioning DNA testing capability at our NFSL, perpetrators of the most horrific crimes cannot be brought to book and tackling GBV will remain yet another unfulfilled Presidential promise.