Krugersdorp rapes: Cele told ‘fast-tracking DNA now is too little, too late’


While questions about the Krugersdorp rapes linger, gender-based violence (GBV) activists say between DNA backlogs, illegal migrants and miners, and policing system failure, it was clear many victims of GBV and other crimes would never see justice.

Laboratories were already buckling under pressure, GBV activist Mbali Ntshangase said.

Regardless of the magnitude of a case, every victim and survivor deserved justice. However, the government was not seeing the urgency in the DNA process.

“Why is the minister only seeing this now? We have been sitting with court cases which we have been waiting two or three years to get results from DNA labs,” she said.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said forensic services had started the process of analysing the DNA of more than 80 suspects who were arrested in connection with the rape and robbery of eight women in Krugersdorp.

This year, Cele said the DNA backlog at Forensic Science Laboratories was expected to be cleared in six months.

However, Action Society’s Ian Cameron said now with the Krugersdorp case, there was a sudden “urgency” for DNA processing with the SA Police Service, whilst in May there was a more than 56 000-case backlog and none of the public-private partnerships Cele promised had been realised.

“So it means all the others will probably hang back for these ones to be resolved now,” he said. “What bothers me about this is why wasn’t it taken seriously before? Why do all the other cases not get the same serious attention we are seeing with this?”

“Why does it take all of the media effort to get the minister to actually fast-track things?

“They’re still going to have the public-private partnerships in place they promised [if they are] to resolve the DNA backlog.”

ALSO READ: Case against Krugersdorp suspects postponed to Wednesday

Anna Ntshaope, a resident from Krugersdorp, said it was sad to see that only after the gang rape were the police acting. She said the community had been crying about the crime for years yet nothing had been done.

“We are living in fear. Basutho walk with pangas, sticks and guns, as well as AK-47s.

“It’s not a secret they walk around in broad daylight and rape women in groups,” she said. “These people have been terrorising us and not just us. We heard about what they did in Soweto and other areas.”

Ntshaope said the government had to do something drastic, such as declaring and treating the crimes in the area as “cross-border terrorism” to scare illegal miners and show authority.

ALSO READ: 17 more suspects arrested in connection to Krugersdorp rape, robbery

Dr Johan Burger, researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, said the gang rape looked like an “absolute opportunistic criminal attack”.

However people should be careful how they framed it.

Police investigation would determine whether it was organised crime, as 80 people arrested in connection to the rape and robbery appeared in the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

NOW READ: Here’s top cop Fannie Masemola’s plan to tackle serious, violent crimes

Source: citizen