The National Assembly has approved the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill, with the draft law now being sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.
The bill is expected to make it easier to track and trace violent offenders in the country. Colloquially known as the ‘DNA law’ the bill will allow the government to gather the DNA of serious offenders arrested in South Africa.
Specifically, the bill will make it a requirement to take DNA samples from offenders convicted of schedule 8 criminal offences, including:
- Sexual offences;
- Human trafficking;
- Culpable homicide.
The collected DNA sample is expected to help facilitate future prosecutions for re-offenders. The bill will also enable the establishment of a comprehensive DNA database to strengthen the fight against crime by capacitating the police with evidence to investigate and solve serious crimes.
The bill has largely been welcomed by opposition parties and is expected to help address South Africa crime rates – which are some of the highest in the world.
The latest crime statistics published by the South African Police Services shows South Africa recorded 6,859 murders in the three-month period between October to December 2021. This is up from 6,279 the year before (+9.2%). Attempted murders were up 3.5%, with the SAPS tracking 5,645 cases.
Contact-related crimes and other serious crimes were both up in the quarter, with a notable increase in carjackings (+13.8%) and commercial crimes (+15.9%).
The latest Cities@Risk Security Index from risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft shows that South African cities rank among the most dangerous and insecure in the world. Cape Town, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and Pretoria in received the worst possible score and ranking joint first in the index.