The chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Police, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, yesterday asked the pressure group Action Society to desist from continuing their Virtual Protest Action (https://actionsociety.co.za/dna-backlog/) as it is flooding her inbox.
Action Society’s #SwitchOffGBV campaign was launched after the head of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Major General Edward Ngokha, last week confirmed that the current DNA backlog stood at 172,787 cases. The pressure group is requesting the public to partake in this action: ensuing that a personal memorandum is sent to Joemat-Petterssen in the hope that her department, and government as a whole, can grasp the harmful impact the DNA backlog has on civil society. The problem needs to be sorted urgently.
Apart from thousands of memorandums she currently is receiving, Action Society is also planning a march to parliament on 10 March at 08h30.
“In her email she asked us to end the campaign, offering her a chance to ‘do her work’. As a civil rights organisation we however cannot sit back and watch SAPS fails at tackling gender based violence (GBV) or consequently how our justice system disappoints thousands of vulnerable victims because of the cracks! We are pleased she made the effort to respond, what we however do want to see is drastic action as to how this problem can be resolved. In a country with a rape conviction rate of 7,8% urgent attention to the DNA backlog and out-dated DNA laboratories should be a top priority,” says Dr Rineé Pretorius, spokesperson of Action Society.
Apart from the Virtual Protest Action Society has also instructed their legal team to file a formal complaint with both the Public Protector and Human Rights Commission.
“The situation regarding the DNA backlog is unacceptable! Take the five-year-old Chantelle Makwena who was raped 18 months ago as an example. She was stoned to death and dumped in a broken toilet, yet her case remains unsolved due to government’s shortcomings? Where is her justice? How many more victims must be left devastated because of a lack of responsible leaders?” asks Pretorius.
The group is urging government to address issues regarding contract management at laboratories, the Property Control and Exhibit Management (PCEM) system that has been off since June 2020 and urge the Minister on Police, Bheki Cele, to finally sign the Convicted Offender DNA amendment bill, allowing for DNA samples to be taken from convicted criminals for the DNA register.
“We thus on the last day of our #SwitchOffGBV campaign ask fellow South Africans to engage in the opportunity make their voices heard by joining our Virtual Protest Action and support our call.”
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 9 March 2021
FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Dr. Rineé Pretorius
Spokesperson: Action Society,
PR: Action Society,