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New DNA laws for South Africa – how they work

Prisoners convicted of serious offences in South Africa will have to give compulsory DNA samples under the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill.

From 31 January, a suspect arrested and charged with a schedule 8 offence will be required to provide a DNA sample which will be uploaded onto the National Forensics DNA database. Schedule 8 offences include some of the country’s most serious violent crimes – including murder and rape.

Taking a DNA sample of a suspected perpetrator, even before a court date is set, is expected to massively increase the successful prosecution rate and assist law enforcement in clamping down on perpetrators.

These DNA samples will populate the National Forensics DNA Database (NFDD) which will enable law enforcement to link perpetrators to cold cases, identify repeat offenders and get more perpetrators prosecuted.

In a presentation to parliament on Wednesday (16 February), the Civilian Secretariat for Police Services said the regulations will better allow authorities to develop a database of violent offenders in the country.

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