What we do


The DNA Project is a registered non-profit, public benefit organization that recognizes the critical importance of DNA evidence in the resolution of crime. It is committed to advancing justice through the expanded use of DNA evidence in conjunction with a national DNA criminal intelligence database, also known as a 'National DNA Database'. The DNA Project hopes that its efforts will translate into the comprehensive use of DNA analysis for crime detection and prevention in South Africa.

The impact of DNA profiling in SA is limited due to a combination of factors such as insufficient DNA Profiling equipment, inadequate laboratory capacity, outdated information systems, overwhelming caseloads, and a lack of training. It is regrettable that despite the profound success of DNA analysis and its revolutionary effect in the resolution of crime throughout the world, it remains an alien concept to many key figures in authority in SA as well as throughout the justice system.

As a result of the lagging awareness by the Government of the value and importance of an expanded DNA Criminal Intelligence Database, SA currently only has in the region of 120 000 DNA profiles on its National DNA Database, and, due to a restriction imposed by Government, only crime stains that have a suspect are allowed to be processed and entered onto the DNA database.

In order to expand and develop SA’s National DNA Database (NDDSA), the DNA Project (DNAP) has recognised that the following key areas need to be addressed in SA:

1. Legislation

2. Education

   (i) Postgraduate Qualification

   (ii) DNA Awareness Training

3. Capacity

In conjunction with the above key issues, it is has become critical that the SA Government convene a body of strategically placed people who will develop a DNA Expansion Strategy that will oversee and co-ordinate the activities required to meet these objectives. In addition, a large investment needs to be made by the SA Government to ensure that these key objectives are met and to enable the significant benefits of the NDDSA to be achieved.

To this end, the DNAP’s objectives not only address the backlog of DNA samples currently awaiting analysation but seeks ways in which to ensure that the size of the database is increased to maximise it potential as a Criminal Intelligence Tool. The DNAP has identified that this can be achieved by amongst other specialist analyst training and continuing education, the purchase of additional upgraded laboratory and computer equipment and supplies, scientific validation and implementation of new forensic technologies, facility modifications, and contractor-provided services for assistance in implementing new capabilities and outsourcing reference casework to streamline processes.

The DNA Project, whilst initially underpinned and funded by the Leigh Matthews Trust (“LMT”), is now a registered Public Benefit Organisation which has undergone a conversion into a s.21 Not for Profit Company with tax exemption status, which tax benefits are able to be passed on to potential donors. The DNA Project is also officially entered onto the register with the Department of Social Development as a Non-profit Organisation.

Corporate Governance Information:

S.21 Not-for Profit Company Registration No: 2008/017790/08

Public Benefit Organisation & Tax Exemption No: 930 028 759

Non-Profit Organisation No.: 067-143-NPO

Auditors: RSM Betty & Dickson (Cape Town)