top of page

Spotlight on DNAforAfrica

Vanessa is regarded as a key opinion leader in the field of Forensic DNA

policy and law, and has been lauded for her leadership to drive the adoption

of legislation to administer South Africa’s national DNA database, the first of

its kind on the African continent.

In September 2017 in South Africa, Sikhangele Mki was sentenced to 15 life

terms and an additional 120 years imprisonment. The Court referred to

Mki as “a monster lurking in the shadows – attacking, robbing and

raping girls, exploiting the vulnerability of his unsuspecting victims – whose crimes fell into the category of the most serious cases this court has ever dealt with”.

The breakthrough in the investigation happened when Mki was arrested and

convicted for an unrelated charge of common assault in 2014. Whilst serving time for this in

prison and in terms of the recently passed DNA Act in South Africa in 2015, police were

mandated to collect DNA samples from all convicted offenders retrospectively and run

the resultant forensic DNA profile through their national DNA database for a comparative

search. In this case, it contained the DNA profiles of an unknown male in 30 separate

rape cases and this is what ultimately linked Mki to the unsolved rapes, although the DNA

sample was collected for a less serious and unrelated crime.

Read more here:

bottom of page