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NA Passes Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Bill

June 2, 2022

Parliament

The Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill has been passed by the national assembly and sent to the national council of provinces for concurrence.

The bill was tabled in parliament in December 2021.

The civilian secretariat for the police service published the bill’s explanatory summary in Government Gazette 45616 earlier in December.

According to the explanatory summary, the bill aims to:

• make a new provision in respect of the full implementation of certain transitional arrangements contained in the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act, 2013;
• provide for accounting responsibilities and reporting obligations in respect of the fulfilment of this new provision;
• provide for the enforcement of the obligation to submit to the taking of a buccal sample; and
• for matters connected therewith.

Cabinet approved the bill at the beginning of November 2021 for tabling in parliament.

The proposed amendments provide for the mechanism to enforce the taking of DNA buccal samples (samples from cells on the inside of the person’s cheek) from people convicted under Schedule 8 offences.

Schedule 8 offences include sexual offences, robbery, human trafficking and culpable homicide.

The collected buccal samples will facilitate future prosecutions for reoffenders.

The proposed legislation also seeks to set up a comprehensive forensic DNA database to strengthen the fight against crime by capacitating the police with evidence to investigate and solve serious crimes.

The bill aims to:

• make provision for the full implementation of certain transitional arrangements contained in the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act, 2013;
• provide for the enforcement of the obligation to submit to the taking of a buccal sample; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The portfolio committee on police called for comment on the bill in March 2022.

The committee passed the bill without amendments.

The select committee on security and justice will now process the bill.