Action Society has instructed their attorneys to start preparing the court case against the Presidency, the Commissioner of Police, National Minister of Police and the Commissioner of Correctional Services, to demand that section 36D(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act No. 51 of 1977 be implemented. The organisation sent a letter to the government in August demanding the urgent implementation of the Forensics Procedures Act and the Convicted Offenders Bill and gave them 30 days to comply.
“All the President had to do was to sign the Convicted Offenders Bill so it can be implemented. His failure to do so is once again proof of the complete lack of resolve to protect the citizens of South Africa. It is tragic that we have to take government to court to get them to do their job,” said Elanie van der Walt, spokesperson for Action Society.
The Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act 37 of 2013 (Forensic Procedures Act) and the Convicted Offenders Bill, forces convicted Schedule 8 offenders (this includes murderers and rapists) to submit a buccal DNA sample for the population of the National Forensic DNA Database of South Africa. (NFDD). Since the creation of the NFDD in 2015 however, the Amendment Act and the Convicted Offenders Bill which was introduced in 2017, has still not been finalised and is still awaiting the president’s signature.
Recently, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, also confirmed that 96 875 Schedule 8 offenders have been released on parole since 2016 without submitting a DNA sample.
In addition to preparing their court case, Action Society partnered up with Dear South Africa (DearSA) again and are encouraging public participation to support their demand to government. Rob Hutchinson, director of DearSA commented: “Over the past three years, we have seen a dramatic increase in public participation on all matters. The public has come to realise the difference between a petition and having their say through an official process. We hope that the public will actively participate in this campaign, as it affects the safety of all South Africans, especially that of women and children.”
“We simply cannot accept that the president has not approved this amendment allowing convicted criminals to walk free without submitting a buccal DNA sample and remain undetected to rape or murder again. DNA is the most effective tool to link perpetrators to cold cases and to facilitate future prosecutions for re-offenders. In a country where 3 335 women are raped and 1 667 people murdered every month, the president and the South African Police Services should be held accountable for not implementing this law ages ago,” van der Walt concludes.
For more information on the Convicted Offenders Bill and how you can participate please click on this link https://dearsouthafrica.co.za/cobill/