The South African Police Service (SAPS) forensic labs grinded to a complete halt six weeks ago because repeated delays in tender negotiations meant that the necessary supplies for the biology labs were never purchased. SAPS have tried to blame stock at suppliers in the past, but we have confirmed that suppliers are fully stocked.
“More than 80 murders are recorded in South Africa every day, but only 14,5% of them are solved. One of the reasons that the conviction rate is so shockingly low, is because of massive DNA processing backlogs,” says Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society.
“Cases are postponed and postponed pending further investigation – in many cases waiting on forensic evidence. Often, the suspects are let out on bail, just to continue on their journeys of destruction. The strongest weapon in the fight for justice is indisputable forensic evidence and it is unacceptable that tender negotiations are delaying justice.”
Liezel de Jager and little Mia Botha, to mention only two of many many cases that Action Society represents, are examples of cases where the delays in forensic processing is standing in the way of justice for the victims and closure for their families.
Liezel de Jager was murdered 657 days ago. She would have turned forty this past weekend. The DNA evidence collected from under her fingernails, proof of her struggle with her attacker, will break the case wide open. “Meanwhile the person of interest is out on the street and is now also a person of interest in ‘n high speed motor vehicle accident that cost the lives of another two women.”
Little Tamia (Mia) Botha was found dead in September 2022. She went missing in the late afternoon of the 27th. She was found dead the next day. “Her mother couldn’t bear to look at her little body. She only saw her little legs and her navy-blue furry boots. To date, not DNA results have been provided.”