SOUTH AFRICAN PARLIAMENT ASKS EXECUTIVE TO SPEED UP AMENDMENTS TO FORENSIC ACT

CAPE TOWN, The South African Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police has called on the Executive to fast-track the processes in amending the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act.

The committee on Tuesday expressed concerns about gaps in the Act, and has instructed the Civilian Secretariat of the South African Police to fast-track processes towards amending the act.

The Criminal Procedures Amendment Act provides, amongst others, for the taking of specified bodily samples (buccal samples) from schedule 8 offenders for forensic deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis. The DNA profiles are then stored in the National Forensic DNA Database (NFDD). The purpose of the act is to strengthen criminal investigation and ensure prosecution of repeat offenders.

The committee has called for the fast-tracking of the Executive processes in amending the act to remedy challenges within the system. DNA analysis plays a central role in the successful prosecution of offenders and, as such, it must be strengthened, Committee chairperson Francois Beukman said.

Beukman was responding to the DNA Board, which informed the committee that the two-year transitional period provided for by Section 7(7), which enabled the retrospective sampling of all persons convicted of schedule 8 offences, has come to an end.

Offenders are now unwilling to have a buccal sample taken, potentially rendering the South African Police Service (SAPS) unable to cross-reference DNA with the NFDD, which could undermine the resolution of cases.

Beukman said the amendment of the act will ensure that buccal samples are taken from all convicted offenders. This will improve the administration and management of the NFDD, and enable proper management of sexual offences data.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK