Over 37,000 DNA specimens in sexual offences cases are yet to be processed in the Western Cape alone. This backlog has had a significant impact on the delivery of justice in the courts, according to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
Gillion Bosman, chair of the Western Cape legislature’s Standing Committee on Social Development, said that the province’s Court Watching Brief Unit had monitored 161 cases related to gender-based violence, femicide and sexual offences between December 2020 and August 2021. Most of these cases were delayed or withdrawn due to DNA evidence not being available within a reasonable timeframe.
But the NPA says it has been involved in an initiative with the SAPS’s Forensic Science Laboratory to prioritise outstanding DNA reports in an attempt to fast-track time-sensitive court cases.