The Action Society Justice Fund was launched this month to assist in the civil rights organisation’s High Court application aimed at forcing Cyril Ramaphosa to sign the Convicted Offenders Bill (CO Bill).
“These legal proceedings are necessary due to Bheki Cele’s constant failure to bring the CO Bill to parliament. The CO Bill compels convicted Schedule 8 offenders to submit a DNA sample for the population of the National Forensic DNA Database of South Africa,” said Elanie van der Walt, Action Society Spokesperson.
Action Society has instructed their attorneys to start preparing the court case against the Presidency, the Commissioner of Police, National Minister of Police and the Commissioner of Correctional Services, to demand that section 36D(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act No. 51 of 1977 and the CO Bill be implemented immediately. The organisation sent a letter to the government in August demanding the urgent implementation of the Forensics Procedures Act and the CO Bill and gave them 30 days to comply but only received an acknowledgement letter from the Secretariat of Police, with no positive response or commitment to action.
The Forensic Procedures Amendment Act 37 of 2013 and the CO Bill, forces convicted Schedule 8 offenders to submit a buccal DNA sample for the population of the National Forensic DNA Database of South Africa. (NFDD). Since the creation of the NFDD in 2015 however, the Amendment Act and the CO Bill which was introduced in 2017, has still not been finalised and is still awaiting the president’s signature.
Schedule 8 offenders are the most violent criminals in our society and include murderers and rapists. Recently, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lomola, also confirmed that 96 875 Schedule 8 offenders have been released on parole since 2016 without submitting a DNA sample.
Van der Walt concludes: “All the President had to do was to sign the Convicted Offenders Bill so it can be implemented. His failure to do so is once again proof of the complete lack of resolve to protect the citizens of South Africa. It is tragic that we have to take government to court to get them to do their job. In a country where 3 335 women are raped and 1 667 people murdered every month, the president and the South African Police Services should be held accountable for not implementing this law ages ago. We urge the public to support us in this matter by contributing to the Action Society Justice Fund, which will enable us to carry out the legal proceedings required.”
More details on the CO Bill and the Action Society Justice Fund can be found here: