DA to lead debate on DNA crisis in Parliament tomorrow

Tomorrow the DA’s urgent Debate of National Importance on the ongoing DNA backlog crisis at the South African Police Service (SAPS) will be held in Parliament.

We urge all citizens to follow the debate at 14:00 tomorrow.

For years the DA has been raising the alarm about the escalating crisis with DNA sample testing at the National Forensic Science Laboratories (NFSL). The backlog in DNA case exhibits at the NFSL now stands at more than 200 000.

The DA has previously asked Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole to investigate partnerships with private laboratories to address the backlog. These calls have fallen on deaf ears. As such, we have written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene where the Minister has failed and have lodged a human rights complaint against SAPS over these backlogs.

The persistent lack of basic consumables and maintenance of highly sensitive equipment, stretching back more than two years, has led to shocking delays in processing DNA samples linked to thousands of murders and rapes across the country. These backlogs have effectively robbed thousands of victims of violent crimes of the justice they deserve.

This debate comes at a time when Minister Cele and the National Police Commissioner are openly fighting with one another while ordinary South Africans are drowning in wave after wave of violent crimes.

Minister Cele and the National Police Commissioner must accept responsibility for the crisis which has occurred on their watch and explain why murderers and rapists have been given a license to commit violent crimes with impunity.

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