Action Society in anticipation until CO Bill is officially adopted next week

Action Society in anticipation until CO Bill is officially adopted next week

 

The Portfolio Committee on Police has confirmed today that the DNA Act has to be amended. All clauses and sections applicable to the Convicted Offenders Bill (CO Bill) have been approved and the final approval is scheduled for next week before moving forward for Parliamentary approval.

 

Action Society is pleased with the progress made. “We believe that with all the different stakeholders joining us in criticising the postponement of the Portfolio Committee meeting last Friday, the message was clearly brought forward of how urgent it is to get this amendment of the Bill approved,” commented Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society.

 

“There is no time to drag feet on this. The longer it takes for this Bill to be amended, the more murderers and rapists get released without their DNA samples being taken. Thousands of cases could essentially be left unsolved because of this.”

 

The Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill B25-2021 states that DNA samples must be taken of all convicted schedule 8 offenders (rape, murder, human trafficking, robbery and culpable homicide) for the purpose of populating the National Forensic DNA Database (NFDD). The approval of this Amendment Bill has been ignored and neglected since 2019.

 

“While government was dragging their feet to get this crucial legislation approved, almost 100 000 violent criminals have been released since 2016 without submitting a DNA sample,” said Cameron.

 

The importance of DNA samples once again became clear in the past week when serial rapist Mzwanele Hohlo was found guilty in the Wynberg magistrate’s court after his DNA was linked to his crimes. He was sentenced to three life imprisonment terms for attempted murder, two five-year imprisonment terms for attempted murder and 12 months’ imprisonment for assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.

 

Cameron concludes: “DNA is one of the most important crime-fighting tools. Nobody can argue with a DNA sample that links a suspect to a scene. We appreciate the Portfolio Committee’s co-operation and we are in anticipation of approval of this Bill to protect the most vulnerable people in South Africa. Action Society will continue to give a voice to the voiceless.”

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