Some 47,000 criminals convicted of serious Schedule 8 offences were not required to provide DNA samples on their release as the Police Ministry had failed to table a Bill that had been drafted and was ready for Parliament's attention, writes Rapport.
The draft Bill is aimed at replacing a transitional Act which expired in January 2017 and forced criminals to provide DNA samples before their release. The replacement Bill, which was leaked to Democratic Alliance MP Andrew Whitfield, has never been tabled in Parliament.
Rapport writes that it appears Police Minister Bheki Cele held back on the replacement Bill as he is focusing on a controversial plan to compel all South Africans to provide DNA samples. Cele told MPs on Friday that this plan cannot be implemented by the police as it affects all citizens and not just the criminal justice system.
"The Minister of Police therefore wrote to Home Affairs and requested them to develop such legislation (applicable to all citizens)," Cele said. Since the transitional Act expired, Schedule 8 offenders have had their DNA samples taken only if they consented.
Cele’s legal adviser told the National Assembly’s Police Committee that the Minister is considering presenting the draft replacement Bill to Cabinet for approval in the meantime.