Western Cape MEC Fritz wants answers on how SAPS plans to eradicate backlog of 200 000 DNA cases

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Albert Fritz. Photo: Peter Abrahams/SON
Albert Fritz. Photo: Peter Abrahams/SON
  • Albert Fritz raised concerns following a DNA backlog at the NFSL.
  • The DNA samples processed by the NFSL are used as evidence in criminal cases. 
  • Fritz will be writing to the national commissioner, Khehla Sithole, to seek clarity on what action will be taken to eradicate the backlog.

The Western Cape MEC for Community Safety, Albert Fritz, has raised concerns following a 200 000 DNA reports backlog at the National Forensic Science Laboratory (NFSL).

The case exhibit backlog involves violent crimes, such as rape, gender-based violence and murder.

"We are approaching a backlog of 200 000 case exhibits," Fritz said. "This means that tens of thousands of cases cannot move forward."

In November 2020, along with funding to the value of R250 million, the South African Police Service (SAPS) presented a turnaround plan to Parliament, which included eradicating the case exhibit backlog at the NFSL within five months.

Last week, there was another announcement that R250 million would go towards eradicating the backlog.

However, the Western Cape government believes the case exhibit backlog has grown since November 2020.

Fritz said this indicates that victims and their families have to live with unresolved cases because the system has failed.

"We are failing our citizens, especially our women," he said.

The DNA samples, processed by the NFSL, are used as evidence in criminal cases.

Without the samples, the National Prosecuting Authority cannot successfully prosecute violent crimes.

Fritz said he would be writing to the national police commissioner, Khehla Sithole, to seek clarity on what action will be taken to eradicate the backlog.

"I will then also ask for further engagement on how other institutions can be involved in the processing of DNA samples, so that we arrest the backlog and ensure that this does not recur," he added.

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