Action Society is concerned about the extent to which the South African Police Service (SAPS) is misleading Parliament and fellow South Africans. The lobby group therefor has instructed their legal team to lodge a formal complaint against the SAPS with the Public Protector. According to Action Society mismanagement and maladministration within the SAPS undermines South Africans’ rights to equality, fair administrative action as well as their access to courts.
Due to a dispute over costs and non-payments computer systems at the police’s Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), managing all evidence including PCEM (Property Control and Exhibit Management), has been shut down in June 2020. Apart from the backlog in unprocessed DNA tests approaching the 200,000 mark, it also implies that the firearms register is inactive.
This morning in another meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Police regarding the issue the National police commissioner Khehla Sitole said they have stepped away from the Forensic Data Analysts (FDA) deal and already invested R2.9m in Sita, a new system. Action Society is concerned about the data integrity of this system. Answering to the pressure group’s plea the Presidency’s fortunately decided to involve public-private partnerships to assist with the current backlog.
“In a country where more than 12,000 women were raped and 6,297 people murdered from October until December 2020, the status quo is shocking! While police are shifting the blame and calling on more meetings, our criminal justice system are being jeopardised,” says Dr Rineé Pretorius, spokesperson for Action Society.
According to Pretorius, Action Society’s complaint will focus on the following:
- 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.
Action Society encourages South Africans to add their names to the complaint (https://actionsociety.co.za/switchoffgbv/). Their legal team will also file a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) court application against the SAPS to obtain a progress report on the backlog from the DNA board.
“As a civil rights organisation fighting for the rights of women and children, we 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,” says Pretorius.
The pressure group also considers taking legal action against Police Minister Bheki Cele, hoping he will take responsibility for the mess caused under his reign and resign.
“The disturbing deterioration of SAPS’s functionality occurred under his supervision. Due to over eight million pieces of evidence already being lost, thousands of victims seeking justice will be disappointed that their cases can never be presented to court. Currently these criminals are enjoying freedom and have no regard for or fear of the justice system. Therefor is it of immense importance that someone takes responsibility for the situation, does the right thing and walk away to give someone else, who indeed can and will do something about this, the opportunity to step forward and provide an outcome,” says Pretorius.
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 17 March 2021
FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Dr. Rineé Pretorius
Spokesperson: Action Society,
PR: Action Society,