Blame it on the weather!

Having noticed that the DNA Bill was not written in to the Parliamentary Programme for 2012, I emailed one of the Portfolio Committee members asking her if she could shed some light on this rather alarming omission. Her response was as follows:

“I’ve been assured by the officials that the list of Bills before Parliament changes as new Bills are introduced for consideration by the Portfolio committees, so the Police Portfolio bills for the year should be introduced by the Minister in due course.”

Mrs Chikunga Sindisiwe - Chairperson of the tour has failed to respond to any one of my emails requesting clarity on when the DNA Bill will be reviewed.

Not really satisfied with her reply I responded as follows:

“It doesn’t really answer my question as to where the Bill is and when the committee intend to review it again.   Whose responsibility is it to bring it back to the table? Has the Chairperson indicated to you as to whether your Portfolio Committee are going to get around to reviewing the DNA Bill anytime soon?”

I received a one liner:

“Nothing as yet.  Perhaps when we start our committees the programme section will give us a schedule for the year.”

I read her reply to a few colleagues last night, one of which was a German Prof visiting Cape Town – The Prof’s response was as follows: “SA is so slow and dull. Perhaps it is because we have rotten weather in Europe that we are so much faster and smarter!”.

Moral of the story: we can blame the apathy and inefficiency of our Portfolio Committee for Police on the weather!

Sad isn’t it?

7 months after their overseas study tour, this is where we are. Acceptable? I say not. This needs to be exposed as does the cost of their study tour to us taxpayers. If the study tour was so necessary and urgent, the very least they can do is get down to the business of actually using that knowledge, before it is forgotten, to promulgate legislation which will regulate our DNA Database.

Portfolio Committee Member Dianne Kohler-Barnard who went on the 'study tour' commented that the Committee do recognise, following the tour, that 'legislation is required in SA' to regulate a National DNA Database

I am meeting with Chris Asplen tomorrow and am going to discuss ways in which, from his experience, we can put pressure on our Government to address this ommission and apathy. Chris Asplen, as some of you may already know, is a DNA policy expert with U.S. federal, state and international experience. Chris has an extensive understanding of the administration of DNA Databases and is recognised as one of the foremost legal experts on forensic DNA technology. He has also worked with the SA government previously as well as the governments of the United Kingdom, Italy,  the Philippines, China, India, Kenya, Croatia, Serbia, Russia, Chile, the Netherlands and several more.
Part of the reason he is coming on this trip is because we are looking at the possibility of  setting up an NGO into Africa for awareness into body part trafficking and identification of body parts  through DNA.
However, I think it is a very good opportunity to procure his further commentary on the DNA Bill. In a previous editorial which hit several SA newspaper’s last year, Chris made some hard hitting comments which related specifically to a DNA Database in SA and how victims of rape are being let down by our politicians who have failed to pass legislation which would ensure that profiles are kept on a DNA database for criminal intelligence purposes to resolve crime even when there is no suspect.

It’s time to bring these people to book. Their apathy is more stifling and oppressive than our hot weather and I simply cannot stand it.

Vanessa Lynch

One Response to “Blame it on the weather!”

  1. Alastair Shand says:

    The colder weather really does have a beneficial effect on the brain. Perhaps something will happen during the winter months.