Bheki Cele misled Parliament on DNA backlog

Issued by Andrew Whitfield MP – DA Shadow Minister of Police
26 Jun 2023 in News

In response to a DA parliamentary question, the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, confirmed that as of the end of May 2023, there was still a backlog of 55 891 DNA samples. This revelation contradicts the statements made by the Minister during his budget vote speech in May 2023. In his speech, he explicitly stated the following:

“Honourable members, the historic DNA backlog stood at 241 152 cases in the first quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year. As of today, the DNA backlog stands at 636, representing a reduction of 99.70%. The Biology environment of the SAPS received and registered 398 439 new case exhibits and finalized 525 538 case exhibits during the 2022/23 financial year. The finalisation rate has progressively increased from 21% in the 2021/22 financial year to over 131% at the end of the 2022/23 financial year.”

Prior to the recent disclosure in response to the written question, the Minister had been evasive about the exact number of the DNA backlogs, often interchangeably referring to the historic DNA backlog and the current backlog, potentially leading to confusion and uncertainty.

By claiming that the backlog has been reduced by 99.7% and creating the impression that all received samples were processed and finalized at a rate of 131% in his speech, the Minister has presented the most compelling evidence yet that he may have either lied or misled Members of Parliament and the South African public to conceal his failures in this regard.

Since assuming office in 2018, Minister Cele has been woefully ineffective, and the fact that 55 891 samples remain backlogged today, despite his knowledge of the DNA sampling issue since his appointment, implies that there may be 55 891 murderers, rapists, and criminals roaming free on our streets, while the victims are denied justice.

The DA will write to the Ethics Committee in Parliament, urging them to take action against Cele for his misleading statements to Parliament, ensuring that he does not deceive South Africa into a false sense of security during a time when we are facing the highest levels of crime in our nation’s history.

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