Action Society congratulates and supports Amnesty International South Africa in taking on Minister Bheki Cele and the police department about the DNA backlog in South Africa related to GBV.
Minister Bheki Cele said in March this year, the DNA backlog will be caught up within six months. Yet, nothing has come of that. “The police is not progressing with eradicating the backlog of DNA tests, as he wants us to believe” said Ian Cameron, director of community safety at Action Society.
Action Society supports the open letter by Amnesty International South Africa, where they emphasised the DNA backlog crisis and demanded the following information from Cele:
- The overall DNA backlog figure;
- The figure in relation to GBV-specific DNA backlog;
- The estimated time to clear the backlog; and
- That Cele provide updates on the DNA backlog when reporting on quarterly crime statistics.
According to the official police reports to the Parliamentary Committee for Police, the backlog stood at more than 150 000 in June and grew to more than 180 000 in July of this year. According to the SAPS’s latest crime statistics, five women are raped in South Africa every hour – 120 per day. “If we work with an average of four pieces of evidence per case, that’s 720 000 tests in the backlog. Now add 14 200 pieces of evidence in rape cases per month – only rape cases – and you can see why the police are losing the battle to get justice for victims of gender-based violence,” said Cameron.
The recent sentence of Jacob Kgatlane, 41-year-old North West serial rapist who raped 15 women, emphasised the importance of DNA evidence in GBV cases. Sergeant Clifford Mokone highlighted that “… we did not know we were dealing with a serial rapist, until the DNA evidence, which triggered all the other cases reported.”
Six of the victims raped by Kgatlane were younger than 18. The youngest was a 14-year-old schoolgirl and the oldest was 37. He was sentenced to six life terms, with two of the sentences expected to run concurrently. He also received 150 years’ imprisonment for 15 charges, including robbery, kidnapping, attempted rape and rape. “Without DNA evidence this serial rapist would probably still roam the streets”, said Cameron.
To support Action Society’s petition to sack Cele, visit this link (https://actionsociety.co.za/cele-must-go/).