Civil rights group Action Society has announced that it has lodged a complaint with the Public Protector (PP) against the SAPS and considering other legal options as the backlog of unprocessed DNA tests approaches the 200,000 mark.
The group has since accused the police service of misleading Parliament and South African citizens.
It said the core of the problem lies in the dispute over costs and non-payment for computer systems at the police’s Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) managing all evidence including Property Control and Exhibit Management (PCEM), which has been shut down since June last year.
The lobby group also implied the firearms register has been inactive since.
“In a country where more than 12,000 women were raped and 6,297 people murdered from October until December 2021, the status quo is shocking! While police are shifting the blame and calling on more meetings, our criminal justice system are being jeopardised,” said Dr Rineé Pretorius, spokesperson for Action Society.
According to Pretorius, Action Society’s complaint will focus on:
- Contract management and the awarding of tenders;
- The reactivation of the FDA’s trusted computer systems (specifically so that DNA testing can resume); and
- For the amendment of the DNA Act to be signed, allowing that buccal samples for a DNA register may be taken from convicted criminals.
The group said that it cannot sit back and wait on feedback while the police are “policing themselves”.
“Every victim has the right to justice and to know if and why their DNA evidence or court case is delayed. We cannot wait for quarterly reports to be ready or for the DNA board to convene another meeting. With this court application we want to put pressure on them to sort out the problem.”