According to the annual progress report by the National Forensic Oversight and Ethics Board, also known as the DNA board, criminals and some police officers were refusing to have their DNA samples taken.
Police officers working with forensics had to have their DNA collected for elimination purposes, but some of them simply refused to do so. Democratic Alliance MP Zakhele Mbhele said this raised concern of what officers might be trying to hide, which stands in stark contrast to the presumption of innocence.
Additionally, some offenders refused to have their DNA taken, as they did not understand the reason for having their samples extracted. This led to convicted offenders being released without having their DNA submitted.
DNA board chairperson Vanessa Lynch, considers this a big concern that has to be followed up. She said the DNA board is now working on a book explaining the need for samples to be taken, especially for arrestees. Economic Freedom Fighters MP Phillip Mhlongo however wants to go much further. He suggested to sedate prisoners to get their DNA. “They are in prison, so they forfeit some of their rights,” Lynn said.