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HomeMedico-LegalForensic procedure Acts await presidential signature 5 years on

Forensic procedure Acts await presidential signature 5 years on

Two Acts that could bolster DNA sampling and expedite prosecution in the fight against rape and gender-based violence have been awaiting a presidential signature for five years, reports Weekend Argus.

Civil organisation Action Society has instructed its attorneys to write to the government, including the presidency and minister of police Bheki Cele, to demand the urgent implementation of the Forensics Procedures Amendment Act that facilitates the creation and maintenance of a Convicted Offender Index in the National Forensic DNA Database (NFDD).

The Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act 37 of 2013, forces convicted Schedule eight offenders, including murderers and rapists, to submit a buccal DNA sample for the DNA database. The organisation said since the creation of the NFDD in 2015, however, this Amendment Act has not been finalised, and was still awaiting the president’s signature.

“The president and the national minister of police are failing to protect the citizens of SA, and are infringing on their constitutional rights. A crucial part of the criminal justice system is not being applied, due to the lack of resolve from government to implement the law,” said Elanie van der Walt, spokesperson for Action Society. The civil rights organisation has given government 30 days to comply with their listed demands, including that the president issue a proclamation fully implementing the Forensics Procedure Act; failing will proceed with legal action against the government, including a declaration of rights in terms of section 38 of the Constitution, from the Constitutional Court.

In 2019/2020, a total of 3 193 murderers were convicted, and of these, just 770 have submitted a buccal DNA sample.

 

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