File picture: Leon Neal/AFP
File picture: Leon Neal/AFP

Gauteng leads with parolees released without DNA samples being taken

By Tarryn-Leigh Solomons Time of article published Sep 6, 2021

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Cape Town - Gauteng has emerged as the province with the highest number of convicted prisoners who were released on parole without their DNA samples being taken.

This was revealed by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola when he was responding in writing to parliamentary questions from DA MP Andrew Whitfield.

Whitfield had enquired the total number of convicted schedule eight offenders who were not added to the national forensic DNA database of convicted offenders, but were released on parole each year since January 2016.

Murder, rape, sexual offences and kidnapping are some of the charges falling under the schedule eight offences.

In his response, Lamola said in terms of the amended Criminal Law, the responsibility to draw DNA samples and maintain records of the national forensic database was that of the SAPS.

“During the transitional period of aforementioned act between 2013 and 2016, all Schedule 08 offenders that were in correctional centres and not registered on the National Database were referred to SAPS for DNA samples to be captured.

“The Department of Correctional Services only processes offenders eligible for parole in terms of the Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998 as amended, which stipulates the periods of a sentence to be served in order to be eligible for consideration for placement on Parole,” Lamola said.

His response showed that Gauteng is listed as the province with the highest number of offenders released without DNA samples being taken with the figure standing at 20 591.

It is followed by KwaZulu-Natal at 16 316.

Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West have a collaborative figure at 16 126 with the Western Cape following closely at 16 009.

Eastern Cape’ figure stands at 14 880 while Northern Cape and Free State have a collective 12 953 parolees.

Lamola’s response showed that there were 91 778 affected male parolees and 5 097 female parolees.

Whitfield described the statistics as “catastrophic miscarriage of justice” resulting from the failure by Police Minister Bheki Cele and his predecessor Fikile Mbalula to bring the bill to Parliament.

He said the implementation of the bill which was drafted in 2016 would provide for the collection of these samples.

“This crucial bill would compel the SAPS and correctional services to ensure that a DNA sample is taken from convicted schedule 8 offenders and added to the convicted offenders database before they are released on parole,” he said.

Whitfield said the reason the bill has not been passed into law was due to Cele and Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, having a “highly unconstitutional pipe dream of a national DNA population database.”

“In the meantime, convicted murderers and rapists are free to continue their terror sprees safe in the knowledge that the DNA they might inadvertently leave at crime scenes would not be traced back to them or their last crimes,” he said.

Whitfield also said the bill would combat the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) and murder in South Africa.

“In a country where GBV is the order of the day and murder seems to have become a national sport, the DA finds it appalling that these ministers would continue to cut SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) off at the knees and so endanger all who live in South Africa,” Whitfield said.

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Political Bureau

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