Jul 17, 2012
New lab part of forensic turnaroundBack
Cape Town|DURBAN|Port Elizabeth|Pretoria|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
Updated 7 hours ago As industry prepares for the launch of South Africa’s digital terrestrial migration, the South African Communications Forum (SACF) hosted a workshop to determine the country’s readiness in terms of compliance of set-top boxes [STBs] and access to funding. The...
Updated 7 hours ago Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has outlined plans for the development of a new health and allied sciences university into which the Medical University of Southern Africa (Medunsa) campus of the University of Limpopo, located in Ga-Rankuwa, will...
Updated 7 hours ago The costs of communicating have to drop, Communications Minister Yunus Carrim said on Wednesday. "Clearly, the costs have to come down. It's not just in the interests of the poor and disadvantaged but the economy as a whole," Carrim said in a statement following a...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2014: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2014 report provides an overview of 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 steel and stainless...
Projects in Progress 2014 - First Edition (PDF Report)
This publication contains insight into progress at the delayed Medupi and Kusile coal-fired projects, in Mpumalanga and Limpopo respectively, as well as at the Ingula pumped-storage scheme, which is under construction on the border between the Free State and...
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
This Week's Magazine
The Electronic Systems Laboratory (ESL) of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University is strongly reaffirming its position as one of South Africa’s leading centres for satellite technology and expertise. It is currently...
The world’s lowest-cost diesel-electric locomotive is not made in China, but in Pretoria, at RRL Grindrod Locomotives’ newly upgraded 30 000 m2 plant. The company’s locomotive pricing is “more competitive than any other original-equipment manufacturer (OEM)...
The South African Defence Review 2012, released to the public at the end of last month (despite the year given in its title) recommends the creation of the post of Chief Defence Scientist. This official would be responsible for the management of defence technology...
AltX-listed engineering technology company Ansys has been awarded an R188-million contract by Transnet to supply integrated dashboard display systems to the freight rail utility’s locomotives. Black-owned and controlled Ansys developed the bespoke integrated system...
South Africa’s sole nuclear power station Koeberg, which is located in the Western Cape, breached a major operations milestone on April 4, which marked the thirtieth anniversary of Unit 1 having been connected to the grid. Eskom, which operates the two-unit plant,...