Cabinet pleased with clearing of DNA testing backlog

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Cabinet says it is pleased the South African Police Service (SAPS) has nearly cleared the DNA testing backlog at its forensic service laboratories.

Addressing a Post Cabinet media briefing held in Pretoria on Thursday, Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, said this breakthrough will ensure that gender-based violence-related cases are speedily resolved.

“The SAPS has also added additional DNA testing capacity with the completion of a forensic laboratory in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape, which will ease pressure on the existing laboratory in the Western Cape,” Gungubele said.

Briefing the media on the latest crime statistics recently, Police Minister Bheki Cele said the SAPS has successfully cleared the DNA testing backlog at its forensic service laboratories, and this has resulted in the solving of thousands of gender-based violence-related cases.

Cele said, “the SAPS have cleared its historic DNA backlog as of yesterday [Thursday]. The DNA backlog which was at over 241 000 is now at 1 600. This is 99.3-percent reduction. We’ve completed the building of a laboratory in EC…Police are using what is at their disposal to amid budget cuts and growing population to police a violent society.”

By October 2022, the backlog had been reduced to 71 000 cases. The ministry at the time revised its deadline for clearing the backlog from the end of October 2022 to the end of January 2023.

Gungubele said government condemned the persistent cases of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and continues to intensify its fight through several interventions.

“These include extensive legal reform, the establishment of a GBVF Response Fund, and support for Thuthuzela and Khuseleka Care Centres, which provide vital services for GBV survivors.

“Furthermore, partnership that government has forged with civil society, business, development partners, the faith-based sector and other sectors to work together to deal with the scourge of GBVF, remain critical,” Gungubele said.