Rape kits shortage a 'matter of urgency'

2013-03-05 10:20
(File, supplied)

(File, supplied)

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Johannesburg - There is a shortage of DNA rape kits at police stations in Gauteng and North West, it was reported on Tuesday.
Police management had ignored calls for meetings to discuss the shortage, The Times reported.

The kits are used to collect DNA forensic evidence from rape victims.

The Times reported that the Gauteng health department's forensic pathology service raised the shortage as a matter of urgency more than seven months ago.

In an e-mail seen by the newspaper, Pretoria pathology service deputy director Jaco Louw wrote: "The absence of these items [rape-kits] opens huge loopholes in terms of control over evidence and the chain of custody of evidence, resulting in suspects walking free.

"Despite meetings with police cluster commanders, our facilities still do not receive DNA kits or sexual assault kits from investigating officers as part of the pathologists' post mortem procedures."

National police spokesperson Brigadier Phuti Setati told the newspaper the SA Police Service was aware of a shortage of the kits at some police stations, but that there was an oversupply in other provinces.

"As a result, we have embarked on a process of redistribution of the forensic kits to where shortage is being experienced."

Parliament’s police portfolio committee earlier condemned the shortage of DNA kits for rape cases at police stations.
It urged national police commissioner Riah Phiyega to resolve the matter.

"This is totally unacceptable, and we as the committee strongly condemn the shortage of these kits," it said in a statement on Monday.

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  johannesburg  |  police

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