Jul 17, 2012
New lab part of forensic turnaroundBack
Cape Town|DURBAN|Port|Port Elizabeth|Pretoria|Building|Resources|Systems|Training|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)
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
While strongly welcoming the promulgation of the new Part 101 of South Africa’s civil aviation regulations, governing the commercial operation of civil remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) in South Africa, the Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Association of Southern Africa...
LSM Distributors has contracted engineering consultancy WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff Africa to undertake the R100-million restoration of the 54-year-old Kyalami racetrack, situated in Midrand. The restoration will assist in re-establishing it as a venue for...
South African Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has expressed the hope that the defence budget will be significantly increased over the next five years. She did so while addressing the media in her recent budget vote media briefing. The 2015/2016 defence...
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has been an implementing agency for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) since 2008. The relatively young portfolio has 28 projects over 30 countries on the continent according to the 2014 AfDB and GEF annual report released...
Investment in South African youth through apprenticeships and learnerships will not only create direct benefits for businesses but will also contribute significantly to job creation and socioeconomic transformation in the country.