Litigation costs police R214 million

2052
The police has spent R130.1 million on legal fees and related costs over the last two years and a further R84.3 million settling claims.
This emerges from answers tabled in Parliament by Safety and Security minister Nathi Mthetwa last week.
 
According to figures given, the R214.4 million was incurred between 1 April 2007 and 31 December 2008, accounting for the first three quarters of the current financial year. 
Meanwhile, only Mpumalanga can boast that it has not lost any police dockets since April last year. Figures released in Parliament by police minister Nathi Mthetwa last week show that the police lost at least 668 dockets from 1 April 2008 to date.
While Mpumalanga apparently lost none, the North West lost 260 and KwaZulu-Natal 132. The Eastern Cape reported four, the Free State 98, Gauteng 86, Limpopo 19, the Northern Cape six and the Western Cape 63.
The figure compares to 382 lost or stolen dockets in 2005/06 and 427 in 2007/08. Mthetwa`s written answer tabled Thursday shows that disciplinary steps are only being taken in 41 cases.
Mthetwa adds that duplicate dockets were opened and police officers “were also sensitised to safeguard the dockets, vide Head Office Instruction, reference 26/13/2 dated 2004‑12‑10.”
Further action includes the implementation “of proper control measures of dockets to and from court” and the “drafting of a new directive on ‘Docket Administration: Guidelines to deal with dockets missing in archives`, at detective units and at courts.”
Back at the lab
Meanwhile, the average backlog at the forensic science laboratories now stands at 68 days. Mthetwa gave the following breakdown:   
SECTION
AVERAGE DAYS
Ballistics
41 days
Biology
130 days
Chemistry
78 days
Questioned Documents
60 days
Scientific Analysis
40 days
Average                                               
68 days
The backlog was in excess of 11 700 cases: 
SECTION
TOTAL
Ballistics
1
Biology
567
Chemistry
 9 913
Questioned Documents
1 038
Scientific Analysis
239
Explosives
0
Total                                        
11758
SA`s main opposition political party`s police spokesman Dianne Kohler Barnard says this is a 93.8% increase from 6068, a figure released in June 2007.
“Ongoing backlogs in our forensic science laboratories continue to place severe strain on police investigations and delay court cases, and thus constitute one of the most serious impediments to a properly functioning justice system,” the Democratic Alliance MP says.
“In particular, it is alarming to note massive increases in the number of backlogs in chemistry samples (up 103% since June 2007), questioned documents (4618%) and scientific analysis (61%).”
Forensic training
Mthetwa also released figures on vacancies, noting the forensic science laboratories had 1545 approved posts of which 1098 were filled at the end of last year and 447 were vacant:
SALARY LEVEL
POSTS
FILLED
ON 31 DEC 2008
VACANT
ON
31 DEC 2008
14
1
1
0
13
6
6
0
12/11
29
24
5
10/9
143
88
55
8>
1366
979
387
TOTAL
1545
1098
447
Mthetwa added that the Forensic Science Laboratory had a training budget of R2 400 000 for the 2008/2009 financial year. In 2007 it trained 138 forensic experts and in 2008 445. Around 350 experts are currently in training:  
SECTION
NUMBER OF MEMBERS TRAINED IN 2007
Ballistics
26
Biology
55
Chemistry
36
Questioned Documents
0
Scientific Analysis
0
Explosives
21
Total                                        
138
SECTION
NUMBER OF MEMBERS TRAINED IN 2008
Ballistics
35
Biology
357
Chemistry
35
Questioned Documents
9
Scientific Analysis
3
Explosives
6
Total                            
445
SECTION
NUMBER OF MEMBERS CURRENTLY TRAINED
Ballistics
36
Biology
256
Chemistry
16
Questioned Documents
8
Scientific Analysis
18
Explosives
20
Total                            
354
Mthetwa also says R143 181 686.01 was spent on buying analytical equipment in 2008/2009:
Ø       Two dimensional X‑ray Diffrectometer
Ø       Wavelength Dispensive X‑ray fluorescence spectrometer
Ø       Benchtop energy dispensive X‑ray fluorescence spectrometer
Ø       Specialised DNA isolation preparation equipment
Ø       Specialised DNA equipment for post DNA isolations
Ø       Comparison Microscopes
Ø       Indoor Doppler radar system
Ø       Infrared Document Workstation VSC6 remain
Ø       FT‑IR System (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer)
Ø       IC System (Ion Chromatography)
Ø       GC‑MS System (Gas Chromatography Mass spectrometer)
Ø       Prepstation LC‑MS System upgrade (Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometer)
Ø       Ahura First defender, Chemical identifier, including probe
Ø       Viking DXL BA Set
Ø       Bio‑Seeq Plus
Ø       EOD‑9 Bomb suit and helmet
Ø       Iplex Videoimagescope system
Ø       Scanna scanwedge X‑ray unit and X‑ray Generator
Ø       Talon robot system
Ø       Hi‑speed and hi‑resolution data scope
Ø       Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer with microscope and imaging
Ø       LC‑MS (Liquid Chromatography Mass‑ Spectrometer)
Ø       X‑Ray Diffraction
Ø       IBIS system (Funds transferred to information system management)
Ø       Wine Alcoholyser
Ø       GDS System (Glow Discharge Spectrometer)
Ø       Fume Cupboards
Ø       Analytical balances
Ø       Stereo microscopes