Action Society is elated about the recent correspondence received from the civilian secretariat of Police, confirming that Section 36D (1) of of the Criminal Procedure Act (Forensics Procedure Act) will be implemented from 31 January 2022. This is a matter the civil rights organisation has been actively advocating for and a huge success in their on-going campaign of law reform in South Africa. This positive result, also comes on the back of cabinet finally approving the submission of the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill to parliament for processing.
“We are very pleased about the progress that has been made with the approval and implementation of this legislation, which will allow the South African Police Services (SAPS) and Correctional Services to take DNA samples of all criminals who are arrested, charged or convicted on a schedule 8 offence. Schedule 8 offences include rape and murder. This legislation which is a crucial crime fighting tool, has been ignored by government for way too long. Action Society urges the president and the Minister of Police to finalise this legislation as per their commitment before 31 January 2022,” said Elanie van der Walt, spokesperson for Action Society.
Section 36 D (1) of the Criminal Procedure Act has been on-hold since 2014. On 1 December 2014 the President of the Republic of South Africa, by Proclamation 89 of 2014, fixed 31 January 2015 as the date on which the Forensic Procedures Act came into operation. The Presidential Proclamation, however, excluded Section 2, to the extent that it inserts section 36D(1) into the Criminal Procedure Act, from operation. Section 36D(1) has never been implemented. Section 36D(1) provides for the mandatory taking of a buccal DNA samples from arrested, charged or convicted persons in respect of certain offences listed in Schedule 8.
Secretary for the Police Service, Mr. Rapea, in his correspondence to Action Society on 4 November 2021 confirmed that: “The required draft proclamation has been submitted through the Office of the Minister of Police to the President, for his consideration. Once the proclamation has been approved by the President, it will be published in the Gazette.”
“Action Society would like to thank our supporters, our partner organisations like Dear South Africa (DearSA) and the public who supported us and participated in this campaign. We will keep fighting for the reform of the justice system to ensure that victims are protected and perpetrators are successfully prosecuted ̶ our number one goal is to give a voice to the voiceless,” van der Walt concluded.