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Cele’s DNA figures for backlogs need more clarity

Activists who monitor how DNA is handled, particularly in cases involving Gender-Based Violence, say the most recent figures on backlogs do not add up.

This is after Police Minister Bheki Cele confirmed that the DNA backlogs had been reduced to 71 000 from just over 240 000. But Civic Organisation, DNA For Africa, demands a more detailed breakdown of the figures.

South Africa’s DNA backlog at Forensic Science Laboratories is a huge hurdle for those who want justice for victims of sexual offences like rape. But the police minister Bheki Cele says there has been a significant reduction.

Director of DNA For Africa, Dr Vanessa Lynch says the numbers need more clarity.

“Is this the ring fence number they referring to is this the entire number of the backlog? Getting to a zero point in January, is that only the ring fence figure? So the expectation from the public is that there won’t be any more backlogs and I don’t think it’s possible. So let’s get clarity, we don’t need to fight. They are making progress, which is wonderful but maybe we have a dashboard like they did with Covid.”

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