The National Forensic Science Laboratories (NFLS) has ground to a near halt as it simply has no consumables or maintenance contracts for the highly sensitive machinery has not been renewed. As a result over 125,000 cases — of which 92% are sexual assault kits — have not been processed, says the former deputy chair of the National Forensic Oversight and Ethics Board, Vanessa Lynch. Her five-year tenure ended in April this year.
“It is scandalous that our government is not utilising the most powerful weapons they have to combat crimes against children and gender-based violence (GBV). The time has come to clean up their offices and get rid of ineffective officials. Legislation on procurement and employment should no longer affect the lives of vulnerable citizens,” says the spokesperson of Action Society, Daleen Gouws.
The pressure group is urging South Africans to support them in their fight for justice and by giving a voice to the voiceless.
“It is apparent that all spheres of our government, especially in the executive branch, are failing the people of South Africa. Maladministration, corruption and preferential procurement provisions are therefore directly accountable for the rape and murder of our fellow South Africans. If we cannot solve crimes by utilising science, due to contractual or procurement issues, we as the citizens of this country are left to our own devices,” says Gouws.
According to Lynch DNA profiling is one of the most successful prosecutorial tools to identify rapists and violent criminals, due to its high rate of reliability in securing conviction. The processing of a DNA kit should however take no longer than 30 days.
DNA profiling specifically plays an important role in criminal cases where victims are cognitively impaired or under the age of seven. Due to their inability to testify the prosecution in many cases solely rely on DNA evidence.
“Action Society calls for the abolishment of legislation causing our institutions to be hamstrung and unable to perform basic tasks. These tasks should be given to people with a passion to protect the victims of crime and fight for justice. Human errors causing delays in bringing perpetrators to justice ultimately compliment their crime and grant offenders the opportunity to reoffend,” Gouws says.
The pressure group is again requesting government to clean up their institutions and to make the National Registry of Sex Offenders (NRSO) publicly available and provide private institutions with the mandate to manage the list.
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 30 October 2020
FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Spokesperson: Action Society,