Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

S. Africa to fight crime with new DNA law  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 22/02/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN -Arab News) JOHANNESBURG: It took a distraught Lindie Mdluli several days to summon the courage to go to a South African police station after she was raped in 2007. When she got there, Mdluli says that police officers didn?t discuss the kind of investigative DNA work that she had seen on television detective shows

?Nobody told me about crime-scene DNA,? said 37-year-old Mdluli, whose assailant was arrested but later released. ?From watching TV, I thought they were going to ask for my clothes, but nobody asked.

Mdluli?s story of failed opportunities to build a criminal case is common in South Africa, which struggles with high rates of rape and murder. In a rare bright spot, a new law will expand a state DNA database used to fight crime by compelling police to take samples from convicted offenders as well as suspects in crimes ranging from homicide to theft, a major undertaking that will test the nation?s troubled police force

Dozens of countries have legislation similar to the so-called DNA Act, which was signed by President Jacob Zuma on Jan. 27. The goal is to match more offenders, including many who break the law more than once, with their crimes, exonerate the wrongly accused and crack cold cases. It will take a while to implement nationwide. Some 100,000 police are to receive training in the collection of genetic evidence; education starts in April and is expected to last five years

While South Africa?s forensic experts are highly skilled, police on the beat have been tarnished by cases of corruption, mismanagement and even violent crimes. Last year, a South African magistrate harshly criticized a police detective for shoddy work in the murder investigation of Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee athlete who says he killed his girlfriend after mistaking her for an intruder in his home. Pistorius? murder trial starts March 3

Last week, top South African police officials said they were committed to enforcing the DNA Act during a forensic science conference in Pretoria, the capital

Activist and lawyer Vanessa Lynch said of skepticism of the police: ?I just want to put a positive spin, instead of it becoming a mudslinging match against the police.

Lynch co-founded the DNA Project, an advocacy group that campaigned for the new South African law, after her father, John, was killed in his Johannesburg home in 2004

His clothes, a potentially valuable source of DNA samples, were discarded. Police did not take DNA samples from bottles from which the attackers had been drinking before the murder. Family and friends cleaned up the crime scene before investigators arrived, inadvertently destroying evidence

The new law will give rape victims, including children, ?a voice to speak for them,? said Mdluli, the rape victim who was a panelist at a Johannesburg conference last week on the measure. She recalled her discomfort at pitting her word against her alleged assailant, a man she knew, without the support of DNA evidence. She eventually dropped the case

Another woman at the conference, Karen Howell, immediately had DNA samples taken after she was raped in 2011 in her Johannesburg home, set up a neighborhood network to track her two assailants, called police to arrest one of the men after she saw him walking in a street and hounded police until they put a more responsive investigator on her case. Last year, the two attackers received lengthy jail terms

?I had to help the police, help educate the police, even the courts,? Howell said

South African police recorded about 66,000 sexual offenses between April 2012 and March 2013. A separate 2010 study in Gauteng, South Africa?s most populous province, concluded that only one in 25 rapes was reported to the police. The research, conducted partly by the South African Medical Research Council, also said one in four women in the province has experienced sexual violence

The test under the new DNA law is as simple as a Breathalyzer test, requiring a swab inside the cheek that takes half a minute. Police must deliver a DNA sample to a lab within 30 days of taking it, and the law has another 30 days to analyze it and load it onto the database. A backlog of cases could also balloon as laboratory technicians try to cope with a flood of new DNA data

Currently, the DNA database of the South African police has 180,000 profiles, in a country of about 53 million people. Lynch said the collection of several million profiles would make it far more effective

Getting samples has already proven effective

Last week, a state prosecutor asked an alleged rapist in a Johannesburg trial why his DNA samples were found on a 4-year-old girl whose body was left hanging on a hook in an abandoned building, The Star newspaper reported. It quoted the suspect, Modise Motapane, as saying: ?I don?t know.

On Monday, Motapane was sentenced to life in prison.


 


Arab News




  MENA News Headlines
 Jan 28 2015 - Gulf states to rethink monetary policyMENAFN
(MENAFN) Gulf Arab oil states may need to rethink longstanding economic policies, including their fixed exchange rates, over the next five to 10 years as economic cycles in the region and the US ...

 Jan 28 2015 - DIB picks arrangers for potential Tier 1 sukukKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Dubai - Dubai Islamic Bank, or DIB, said on Tuesday that it picked eight banks to arrange roadshows from January 8 for a potential benchmark size dollar-denominated sukuk ...

 Jan 28 2015 - What next for Londonium and Barclays?Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) I have tried to visit Britain on the eve of every general election since the end of the Thatcher era (by Tory regicide, not the ballot box) in November 1990 in search of ...

 Jan 28 2015 - Emirates NBD - holding the banking fortKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The banking industry looks set to sustain positive trends this year due to strong macroeconomic economic indicators, sufficient liquidity and low interest rates in the ...

 Jan 28 2015 - China pumps cash into banks in a bid to accelerate growthKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Beijing - China's central bank has bolstered support for the cooling Chinese economy by injecting another 50 billion yuan ($8.1 billion) worth of short-term loans into banks ...

 Jan 28 2015 - Union National Bank posts 16% jump in annual earningsKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) People walking past a Union National Bank branch in Dubai. The total assets of the UNB Group increased by seven per cent in 2014 to Dh93.5 billion as at December 31, 2014. - ...

 Jan 28 2015 - Gulf Arab countries may need to rethink policy: Qatari bankerKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Dubai - Gulf Arab oil states may need to rethink longstanding economic policies, including their fixed exchange rates, over the next five to 10 years as economic cycles in ...

 Jan 28 2015 - GCC retail sector on growth pathKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Dubai - GCC retail sales are expected to grow at a 7.3 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2013 and 2018 to reach $284.5 billion, according to Alpen ...

 Jan 28 2015 - Dubai International airport crowned as world's busiestKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The airport's passenger numbers boosted by 6.1 per cent to 70.5 million in 2014 and pushed the Heathrow down to the second position as London's top airport handled 68.1 ...

 Jan 28 2015 - Sharjah's Dh17.7b budget to ensure economic upliftKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Sharjah - His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, on Tuesday approved the 2015 general budget of the emirate ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help