Great strides are being made in reducing the current DNA backlog in Gauteng. The SAPS Forensic Lab in Pretoria indicated that the backlog for Gauteng has been reduced to 5006.
As part of the Democratic Alliance’s 16 Days of Activism for no violence against Women and Children campaign; an oversight inspection was conducted at the SAPS Forensic lab today.
During our visit, SAPS highlighted a number of interventions that have been put in place to address this serious backlog, which has a huge impact on survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) seeing justice being metered out.
One of the systems implemented is that of flexi time, which has allowed the lab to reduce the backlog. They have also introduced a two-stream system, which means that they have one group of people working on the backlog and another working on any new cases that they received.
A concerted effort has also been made to deal with cases that fall under the category of gender-based violence.
The SAPS forensic lab in Pretoria is the main office and in order to effectively carry out their work, they need a bigger space from which to operate.
Even though the backlog has been drastically reduced and some cases are ready to go to court, there is a delay in this from the side of the Justice Department.
The Democratic Alliance will be conducting a follow-up visit in January to determine whether the measures put in place by SAPS to address the backlog have worked, as this is by when the DNA backlog needs to be cleared.
In addition, we will also be liaising with our counterparts in Parliament, so that we can address the concerns around the delays from the Justice Department in prosecuting the cases.
The scourge of gender-based violence must be rooted out and cases that are reported to the police must be investigated properly and justice served as soon as possible. A court case that drags on only traumatises the survivor further.
The focus on gender-based violence should not only be for 16 days of the year but 365 days.