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‘Big step forward’: DNA samples now compulsory

Mandatory DNA samples will now be taken from offenders guilty of serious crimes, a move hailed as a “big step” towards solving and preventing crime, especially sexual offences.

The amendments to section 36D(1) of the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act was signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa on January 13 and applies to people convicted of crimes under schedule 8 offences.

Schedule 8 offences include rape, murder, human trafficking, robbery and culpable homicide.

“Offenders don’t only commit one type of crime. For example, a house breaker might also be a rapist. So if he is arrested on a HB [housebreaking] case and his DNA is taken, it could lead to a link with a rape cases,” forensic psychologist Prof Gerard Labuschagne said.

Civil rights organisation Action Society, which has been advocating for the amendment, welcomed the promulgation.

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