Jul 17, 2012
New lab part of forensic turnaroundBack
Cape Town|DURBAN|Port|Port Elizabeth|Pretoria|Resources|Systems|Building|Service|Systems|Eastern Cape|Northern Cape|Julius Phahlane|Nathi Mthethwa|Riah Phiyega|Eastern Cape
"What we are witnessing today is how modernised systems, coupled with the equipped human resources, can... contribute towards an improved turnaround time in terms of processing forensic case work," he said.
"Let this laboratory become a value-add in our efforts of fighting crime... This state-of-the art building must not become a white elephant."
The minister was speaking at the opening of the R600-million lab in Plattekloof, now the fourth forensics facility in the country, which took six years to build.
The lab has been in operation since November, servicing the province, as well as the Northern Cape and parts of the Eastern Cape.
Mthethwa said many had referred to the forensics division as the "backlogs division".
A backlog was any case which took more than 28 working days after arriving at the lab to be finalised.
These backlogs had drastically slowed down conviction of individuals by the courts in the past.
"But we have seen a positive turn-around strategy," Mthethwa said.
The labs had seen a 63 percent caseload increase in the past financial year. Backlogs had decreased by 30 percent within the same period.
He said government had no intention to privatise the laboratories, despite calls by some in the light of the backlogs.
"This decision is further informed by empirical research as well as our international counterparts, who concur with us that privatisation is not a viable option."
The minister said his strategy to boost the division was to acquire more skilled staff to offer an adequate service to all corners of the country.
For 2011/2012, R63 million was set aside for enhancing skills within the division, with a further R35 million earmarked for the current financial year.
Mthethwa was also set on developing a recognised forensics degree, through which graduates could be placed in the field with minimal in-house training if required.
The three other labs are in Port Elizabeth, Durban, and Pretoria. Police used the facilities to process evidence found at crime scenes to paint a picture of perpetrators and their modus operandi.
Just under 7000 staff analysed specimens through ballistics, biology, chemistry, and other means.
According to divisional head Julius Phahlane, the new lab was among the best in the world.
"You will not find a lab of this nature anywhere in the world. We are leading and we are proud to say that," he said.
National police commissioner Riah Phiyega said the lab was an added weapon in fighting crimes against women and children.
She said that in the past year, over half of the cases processed by biology staff were for rape and murder.
"These alone show the vulnerability of the main category of victims, which happens to be women and children.
"The launch of this laboratory will go a long way in the eradication of crime against women and children... [and] incidents of substance abuse among our communities."
Edited by: SapaComment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Updated 1 hour 21 minutes ago The National Ports Authority (NPA) has taken steps to ensure the Ebola virus disease does not enter South Africa through one of its main harbours, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown revealed on Thursday. "As of September 23, all vessels [from certain countries]...
Updated 2 hours 48 minutes ago AltX-Listed Huge Group on Thursday said it had secured a loan agreement that would enable the funding of the company’s significant growth. In a statement to shareholders, Huge Group said that, following a “high level of interest” from debt finance providers, wholly...
Updated 3 hours ago A high-standard technical paper, titled ‘Laser metal deposition microstructure of modified low-C martensitic stainless steel’, has secured two Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) metallurgists and a University of Pretoria (UP) professor the...
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
This Week's Magazine
Integrated energy and chemical company Sasol has partnered with Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) professor and founder and CEO of PanAvest Partnership Dr Douglas Boateng to publish a series of books on executive supply chain management aimed at...
The World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF’s) 2014 Living Planet Index (LPI) indicates that there has been a 52% decline in vertebrate species since 1970. The Index tracked the trends of 10 000 discrete populations of over 3000 vertebrate species between 1970 and 2010.
Rwanda has joined a number of East African countries seeking to import electricity from Ethiopia as its demand grows. After it became apparent several generation project it is implementing will not come on stream early enough, now plans to import 400 MW from Ethiopia...
Metrorail’s first new passenger train will arrive in November next year, says Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) CEO Lucky Montana. “Next year we will be able to put our hands around the infrastructure and equipment we have been talking about for so long.”
The Competition Commission has launched an investigation into what it says are “price fixing, market division and collusive tendering in the market for the manufacture and supply of automotive components to original equipment manufacturers” (OEMs, or vehicle...