Andy Kawa’s horrifying 15-hour rape ordeal once again shook the nation. She was gang raped in broad daylight on King’s Beach in the Eastern Cape over ten years ago. The saddest truth is that she cannot close this on-going devastating chapter of her life since none of the perpetrators has since been identified nor arrested.
“South Africa’s justice system has failed this woman in every way. Andy’s horrific story is proof that justice delayed, implies justice denied. Sexual offenders are acting with impunity and reoffending because the government is not tackling the root of this problem: the delay in the processing of crucial DNA evidence,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society.
In October 2020 the pressure group, which fights for the rights of vulnerable South Africans, emphasised the massive DNA backlog in over 117,000 cases. They are waiting for an update on the progress of the DNA backlog turnaround strategy when the National Forensic Oversight Ethics Board appears before the Committee on 2 March 2021.
Action Society also hopes to hear that the Minister of Police has finally agreed to signing the Convicted Offender DNA amendment bill in order for it to progress to Cabinet for approval. The original provision in the DNA Act, permitting a two-year period for DNA samples to be collected from convicted offenders, expired in 2017 before all convicted offenders could be sampled. Since that time, prisoners have been released without their DNA samples being taken to be loaded onto the national DNA database.
“Because of a lack of trust in our justice system, we know that many rape cases go unreported. SA’s shocking conviction rate of 7.8% underlines how the reported rape cases are falling through the cracks. Since rapists are most often repeat offenders, a DNA database — fast-tracking and streamlining the investigating process — is crucial in solving cold cases like Andy’s. Scientific proof also plays a vital role in court cases where minors and mentally disabled persons are present,” says Gouws.
“We are open to engage with relevant stakeholders to put forward our proposed recommendation as to how civil society can play a part in alleviating these issues together with government,” Gouws says.
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 19 February 2021
FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Spokesperson: Action Society,