The South African Police services (SAPS) has assured the country that DNA samples required for court cases linked to gender-based violence are to be prioritised.
This announcement comes after forensic exhibits in the National Forensic DNA Database due to the Property Control and Exhibits Management (PCEM) system disappeared after they shutdown by the service provider in June 2020.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said the SAPS has worked with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and developed the Forensic Exhibit Management(FEM) to replace the previous system run by the service provider.
“The SAPS management would like to assure the nation that while the backlog in the forensic laboratories is being delt with the urgency it deserves. DNA samples required for court cases especially related to Gender Based Violence cases as well as DNA samples needed for identification of persons burial are being prioritised,” said Naidoo.
Naidoo said about 10 million samples have been loaded into the FEM. “The FEM system went live on the 6th of April 2021 and approximately 10 million samples for the forensic laboratory admin system have been loaded into the FEM system where samples can be traced at the click of a button,” said Naidoo.
He said police management is satisfied with the progress made since the introduction of the Fem system and remains encouraged by the continuation of DNA testing due to the availability of quantification kits.
“All hands are on deck at the forensic science laboratories to urgently tackle the existing backlogs. The workforce of the forensic analysts has been adjusted to allow for overtime work,” Naidoo said.