Archive for the ‘Forensic Career’ Category

 

48 Hours – Students learn about Forensic Science

Thu, Jun 5th, 2014

SABC - 48 Hours

For all our young budding scientists out there interested in entering the fascinating world of forensics…

Watch as two Matric students gain insight into the diverse career field of Forensic Science, which incorporates crime scene investigation, court proceedings, digital forensics and lab work, in the following episode of SABC’s 48 Hours programme.

This episode (S05 – Episode 01) was first broadcast on 16th of October 2013 on SABC2.

48 Hours is an educational youth television show, designed to bring the world of careers to young South Africans. Two Matric pupils spend 48 hours with a professional on the job, take on basic chores while learning as much as possible and asking as many questions as possible!

SAPS Forensic Services: Additional Posts for 2014

Fri, May 23rd, 2014

New additional posts within the South African Police Service (SAPS) Forensic Services Division, under the SAPS Act (employment as a police official), have been added and are being advertised – http://www.saps.gov.za/careers/careers.php.

Crime scene investigator searching for fingerprints

Police officials are employed in terms of the South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No 68 of 1995). Click here to read the application process in terms of the SAPS Act.

CLOSING DATE for applications: 06 June 2014

Download the full advertisement for all the new forensic services posts, including how to apply and requirements (PDF).

Download the official application form from the SAPS website.

The following posts are available:

Post: Warrant Officer [Forensic Analyst]
Section: Crime Scene Laboratories
Component: Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management
Location of the post: Klerksdorp: North West (1 Post) (Ref FS 258/2013)
Protea Glen: Gauteng (1 Post) (Ref FS 259/2013)
Lyttelton: Gauteng (1 Post) (Ref FS 260/2013)
Phuthadijaba: Free State (1 Post) (Ref FS 261/2013)
Salary Level: Band B1Salary Notch R 212 286.00 (Per Annum)

Post: Warrant Officer
Section: Crime Scene Investigation
Component: Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management
Location of the post: Phokeng: North West (1 Post) (Ref FS 262/2013)
Mmabatho: North West (1 Post) (Ref FS 263/2013)
Butterworth: Eastern Cape (2 Posts) (Ref FS 264/2013)
Arconhoek: Mpumalanga (1 Post) (Ref FS 265/2013)
Pudimoe: North West (1 Post) (Ref FS 266/2013)
Vryburg: North West (1 Post) (Ref FS 267/2013)
Provincial CR & CSM: Durban: Kwazulu-Natal (2 Posts) (Ref FS 268/2013)
Ulundi: Kwazulu-Natal (1 Post) (Ref FS 269/2013)
Richardsbay: Kwazulu- Natal (1 Post) (Ref FS 270/2013)
Dundee: Kwazulu- Natal (1 Post) (Ref FS 271/2013)
Pretoria Central: Gauteng (1 Post) (Ref FS 272/2013)
Provincial CR & CSM: Johannesburg: Gauteng (1 Post) (Ref FS 273/2013)
Krugersdorp: Gauteng (1 Post) (Ref FS 274/2013)
Phalaborwa: Limpopo (1 Post) (Ref FS 275/2013)
Groblersdal: Limpopo (1 Post) (Ref FS 276/2013)
Salary Level: BAND B Salary Notch R196 269 (Per Annum)

Post: Warrant Officer [Forensic Analyst]
Sub-Section: Post Mortem Data Collection
Section: Victim Identification Centre
Component: Forensic Science Laboratory
Location of the post: Pretoria (2 Posts) (Ref FS 277/2013)
Salary Level: Band B1Salary Notch R 212 286.00 (Per Annum)

Post: Warrant Officer [Forensic Analyst]
Section: Victim Identification Centre
Sub – Section: Ante Mortem Data Collection
Component: Forensic Science Laboratory
Location of the post: Pretoria: Gauteng (1 Post) (Ref FS 278/2013)
Salary Level: Band B1Salary Notch R 212 286.00 (Per Annum)

Post: Warrant Officer (Provisioning Administration Officer)
Sub-Section: Supply Chain Management: Moveable Government Property
Section: Nodal Support Centre (1 Post) (Ref FS 279/2013)
Component: Forensic Science Laboratory
Location of the post: Port Elizabeth: Eastern Cape
Salary Level: BAND B Salary Notch R196 269 (Per Annum)

GENERAL INFO:

  • Only the official application form (available on the SAPS website and at SAPS recruitment offices) will be accepted. The Z83 previously utilized will no longer be accepted. All instructions on the application form must be adhered to and previous criminal convictions must be declared. Failure to do so may result in the rejection of the application.
  • The post particulars and reference number of the post must be correctly specified on the application form.
  • Persons who retired from the Public Service by taking a severance package, early retirement or for medical reasons, as well as persons with previous convictions, are excluded.
  • A comprehensive Curriculum Vitae must be submitted together with the application form.
  • Certified copies (certification preferably by Police Officers) of an applicant’s ID document, motor vehicle drivers license (Police Act appointments), Senior Certificate and all educational qualifications obtained and service certificates of previous employers stating the occupation and the period, must also be submitted and attached to every application.
  • Applicants are requested to initial each and every page of the application form, CV and annexures.
  • The copies must be correctly certified on the copy itself, not at the back. The certification must not be older than three months.
  • All qualifications and driver’s licenses submitted will be subjected to verification checking with the relevant institutions. The South African Police Service will verify the residential address of applicants and conduct reference checks.
  • Applications must be mailed timeously. Late applications will not be accepted or considered.
  • The closing date for the applications is 6th of June 2014.
  • Appointments will be made in terms of the SAPS Act or Public Service Act as applicable to the post environment.
  • If a candidate is short-listed, it can be expected of him/her to undergo a personal interview.
  • Applicants appointed under the Police Service Act will be subjected to a medical assessment by a medical practitioner as determined by SAPS prescripts.
  • Applicants appointed under the Police Service Act will be subjected to undergo a lateral entry programme at a SAPS training institution, where applicable.
  • Short-listed candidates for appointment to certain identified posts, will be vetted in terms of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act No 32 of 2007) and the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No 38 of 2005). A candidate, whose particulars appear in either the National Register for Sex Offenders or Part B of the Child Protection Register, will be disqualified from appointment to that post.
  • All short-listed candidates will be subjected to fingerprint screening.
  • Correspondence will be conducted with successful candidates only. If you have not been contacted within three (3) months after the closing date of this advertisement, please accept that your application was unsuccessful.
  • The South African Police Service is under no obligation to fill a post after the advertisement thereof.
  • The South African Police Service is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and it is the intention to promote representivity in the Public Service through the filling of these posts. Persons whose transfer/appointment/promotion will promote representivity will therefore receive preference.

APPLICATIONS AND ENQUIRIES CAN BE DIRECTED TO:
Lt Moonsamy / Captain Mashakane
Tel: (012) 421-0584/ 0194
Tel: (012) 421-0539

POSTAL ADDRESS
Private Bag X 322
PRETORIA
0001

HAND DELIVERY:
Cnr Beckett and Pretorius Street
Strelitzia Building
Arcadia
0083

SAPS Forensic Services: Job Opportunities – 2014

Fri, May 16th, 2014

Wish to enter the exciting world of Forensic Science? Now’s your chance…

The South African Police Service (SAPS) is advertising a number of vacancies that are currently available (employment as either a police official or civilian employee) within the various sections of its Forensic Services Division throughout the country – http://www.saps.gov.za/careers/careers.php.

Police officials are employed in terms of the South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No 68 of 1995) and civilian employees are employed in terms of the Public Service Act, 1994 (Act No 103 of 1994).

CLOSING DATE for all applications: 23 May 2014

POLICE ACT POSTS

Someone who applies to be appointed in terms of the SAPS Act, 1995. Click here to read the application process in terms of the SAPS Act.

Download the full advertisement for all the Police Act posts, including how to apply and requirements (PDF).

Download the official application form from the SAPS website.

The following posts are available:

Forensic Analyst (Warrant Officer)

  • DNA Analysis
  • Evidence Recovery
  • Ballistics Analysis
  • Chemical Analysis: Drugs General
  • Chemical Investigation: Fire Investigation
  • Primer Residue
  • Trace Analysis
  • Precious Metals
  • Environmental Compliance: Questioned Documents
  • DNA Database Administration
  • Chemical Processing

State Accountant (Warrant Officer)

  • Finance and Administration Services
  • Budget Management: Financial and Administration Services

Provisioning Administration Officer (Warrant Officer)

  • Supply Chain Management: Procurement

Personnel Practitioner (Warrant Officer)

  • Personnel Management
  • Personnel Management: Grievance Management
  • Employee Relations
  • Personnel Management: Data Integrity & Translations
  • Medical Administration & Absenteeism
  • Service Terminations
  • Skills Development Facilitation

PUBLIC SERVICE ACT POSTS

People who do not want to become police officials but who would like to work for the South African Police Service as civilian employees, may apply for vacant positions. Click here to read the application process in terms of the Public Service Act.

Download the full advertisement for all the Public Service Act posts, including how to apply and requirements (PDF).

Download the official application form from the SAPS website.

The following posts are available in a number of different sections, e.g. Scientific Analysis, Ballistics, Forensic Database Management, etc., within the Forensic Services Division:

  • Administration Clerk
  • Typist
  • Secretary
  • Provisioning Administration Clerk
  • Personnel Officer

Facebook Q&A: Ask an Expert with David Swanepoel

Thu, May 1st, 2014

The DNA Project hosted its first ever live Q & A event via our Facebook page on the 19th of March 2014 with fellow DNA awareness trainer and Human Identification Specialist David Swanepoel regarding the topic of forensic DNA analysis.

David Swanepoel – Human Identification Specialist

The following is a full write-up of all questions that were asked by the various participants during the hour-long online event:

Q: DNA and Forensics is a very exciting area to be in. What are the qualifications required to get involved in:

1. DNA testing?
2. Crime Scene Investigation?

It certainly is an exciting field and is growing in leaps and bounds.

1. For DNA testing, it will be necessary to have some molecular biology experience – this could be a degree in molecular biology, or forensic science specifically. I will post further on the courses available in South Africa.

2. For crime scene investigations, it is recommended that you have some qualification in the area of crime scene analysis that you will be working in, i.e. if you are going to collect DNA at the scene, you should have some molecular biology knowledge, if you are working with chemicals/clandestine labs – some knowledge in chemistry would be advantageous. The SAPS has on the job training for crime scene personnel.

(more…)

The role of a forensic nurse in the medical investigation

Wed, Mar 5th, 2014

The following is an excerpt from an article that was published in the February 2014 issue of Servamus Magazine wherein they highlight the role a forensic nurse plays in the medical investigation.

The role of a forensic nurse in the medical investigation by Kotie Geldenhuys

Failure to preserve forensic evidence results in a low rate of conviction (Data and McQuoid-Mason, 2001). Trained doctors with the required experience in clinical forensic services are extremely scarce in South Africa, but trained forensic nurses will be able to assist and alleviate this shortage. The application of forensic nurses may be a major contribution towards victim empowerment in general and this action can contribute to an increased reporting rate of child abuse.

(more…)

CSI: A South African Perspective

Fri, Jul 6th, 2012

This article appeared in The Daily Maverick on 4th July 2012 by Shaun Swingler.

There are those who say our cops are useless at collecting evidence and that our forensic laboratories are equally overworked. Others say they’re both doing a fine job. There is even a new academic course being offered in the discipline. But what does all the evidence add up to? By SHAUN SWINGLER.

A stripper is found murdered at a bachelor party in Miami. The CSI team is there within minutes, perfectly blow-dried and ready to collect conviction-ensuring evidence. They return to the lab and run a hair sample they found at the crime scene through their supercomputer. The sample contains mitochondrial DNA that gets a hit on CODIS. A police raid, headed by the CSI team, is authorised on the suspect’s house. The team barge in and arrest the culprit (jealous ex-boyfriend). After 40 minutes, a few snappy one-liners and a slick montage the bad man goes to jail.

Mpho Sibanze and Bongani Malinga are stabbed early on a spring morning in 2006. A seriously injured Mpho is able to phone her family for help. Rushing to her location, Mpho’s family find her bleeding from a gash in her throat. Bongani’s body is found in the neighbouring grassland. On the way to the hospital Mpho names her attacker. She dies a day later.

Tsidiso Hlongwane – the man fingered for the crime – is arrested nearly two years later. The South Gauteng High Court acquits him of all charges after a trial that lasts only three days. Despite there being a number of items found at the scene that are believed to belong to Hlongwane, the police fail to conduct any DNA tests that could link these items to him. The case is bungled by the forensic system and an accused multiple-murderer never even has to answer to the charges against him.

Unlike the hundreds of perfectly resolved narratives captured in the high definition morality tales of CSI Miami, South African forensics seems to rarely provide the victims of violent crime with the evidence needed to ensure that killers or rapists are convicted. Or, on a human level, for the people left behind to know what really happened to their loved ones.

The news is riddled with stories of seemingly insurmountable problems facing the state forensics system in South Africa. Opposition parties routinely score mileage on reports of seven year toxicology backlogs, missing autopsy reports and the state’s apparent inability to cope with the thousands of blood-alcohol tests gathering dust in its laboratories. And, when those tests do eventually make it to court, laboratory staff are seemingly more likely to be embarrassed than lauded.

In January 2007, Judge Nkola Motata crashed his Jaguar into the wall of a Hurlingham property while under the influence of alcohol. After a trial that lasted more than two years, Motata was convicted of drunken driving, but was acquitted on the charge of driving with an excessive amount of alcohol in his blood. This acquittal was as a result of chief forensic analyst, Logan Govender, not adhering to the correct CSIR protocols when analysing Motata’s blood samples. During cross-examination, Govender admitted that, because he had not followed correct protocol, the results of his analysis were likely to have been incorrect.

Were it not for the video and audio recordings captured on a witness’s cellphone, in which Motata was caught slurring and swearing, it is likely that the judge would have been acquitted.

Of course, the perfect cinematography of CSI Miami and its unrealistically quick resolution of criminal cases cannot be used as a barometer for the performance of South Africa’s state forensic facilities. But, in a country intent on reducing crime and ensuring that violent criminals are brought to justice, the much-publicised failure of government’s crime scientists isn’t just embarrassing – it’s dangerous.

The University of Cape Town is looking to change this problem. This year, the university introduced a new master’s degree in Biomedical and Forensic Science – the first of its kind in South Africa. The degree aims to stimulate research in the field of forensics, tackling problems that are unique to the country. But it’s not without controversy.

The course is run by Dr Marise Heyns, who joined UCT in August 2011 after teaching human anatomy for 17 years. She found an interest in forensics after investigating the torture method known as kneecapping while working in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She returned to South Africa after seven years to implement the skills she had acquired, because “if there’s one country suitable for forensic research then it’s South Africa”.

Heyns explains that the intention of the degree is not to produce lab technicians or evidence collectors. Despite the repeated state laboratory blunders documented in the press, she says the skills training currently available, particularly in the police labs, is more than adequate to meet the needs of the forensic science units in South Africa.

Rather, what the degree aims to do is to produce researchers who are able to understand the forensic process from the level of evidence collection right through to the preparation of forensic cases for court. According to Heyns, this will equip individuals with a holistic perspective of the forensic system, better allowing them to uncover weaknesses and stimulate more research in the field.

If there are enough skilled individuals in the labs and in the field doing their jobs, then why does it seem that the forensic system is not functioning properly?

“The system has shortages, but it is working,” Heyns says. “But without knowing intimately how the process works, you can feel that it’s not working properly.”

The problem, Heyns argues, is that every scientist is trained in one small section of a very large system without sufficient understanding of how and where their role fits into the broader context of the forensic system.

In any given case involving forensics, you have crime-scene officers who collect the evidence, which is then sent off to lab technicians to analyse (the SAPS labs in the case of forensic lab work and department of health labs in the case of toxicology work). Results from analysis are then used by lawyers to build their cases for court. The problem is that there is no one who is trained in the intricacies of the forensic process able to understand this process from start to finish.

The new master’s degree will look to rectify many of these problems by stimulating top-down research into the system, and finding ways of addressing the lack of overlap between the different disciplines in the forensic process.

The degree will expose students to a number of different aspects of the forensic system. Among other things, it will familiarise them with crime scenes and various evidence-collecting procedures, as well as lab work and exercises to teach them how to present their findings in court.

But anyone signing up for this degree with the hope of arresting bad guys and living life in a series of slick montages is, sadly, mistaken. As Heyns illustrates, “(In a typical CSI show) the same people collect the evidence, analyse it in a lab and go arrest the guy all within 40 minutes. It doesn’t happen like that in real life.”

The South African forensics system is currently facing huge challenges. The SAPS was recently instructed by treasury to cut back on hiring new forensic staff in the coming year, due to budget cuts in the police force. Scientists in this sector will have to work overtime in an effort to retain any chance of efficient service delivery. This will likely result in burnout, as is feared by Lieutenant-General Johannes Phahlane, the SAPS divisional commissioner for forensic services.

Phahlane told Sapa he fears scientists already facing daunting hours and a large backlog will now be pushed to their limit. A knock-on effect of this cut will be the difficulty in retaining staff in the sector. The effort and money put in to training these scientists will have gone to waste if they are lost to labs elsewhere in the world.

David Klatzow is a forensic investigator and author well known for his outspoken views on South Africa’s state laboratories and what he says are their many failings. He says Heyns’s claims – that the labs aren’t in as dire a state as media reports suggest – are delusional.

“Morale at the state laboratories is at an all-time low…the backlogs run into years and all you hear about is how the police routinely fail to manage the forensic process. Police at the scene of (right-wing leader) Eugene Terre’Blanche’s murder failed to pick up a piece of his tooth that was lying on his bedroom carpet. His daughter had to pick it up and give it to investigators. That tooth could have contained valuable evidence.”

Police in the Terre’Blanche case also stand accused of wiping a semen-like substance, clearly visible on crime-scene photographs, off Terre’Blanche’s body after the murder. The so-called “missing semen” proved to be fodder to accused killer Chris Mahlangu’s claims that Terre’Blanche sodomised him before the killing. The state denies these claims, but without the exact nature of the “semen” being identified and analysed, it cannot disprove them.

“The situation can only get worse,” says Klatzow, who says he has doubts about whether UCT’s new degree will have any real value in the fight for effective use of forensic science to solve crime.

“From what I can see, this course doesn’t teach students anything about ballistics, fingerprint technology, solving fire crimes, et cetera et cetera. The people running it haven’t sought input from those in the field, and the course is run in the department of medicine, not science. So I’m really not sure.”

Founder of the DNA Project, Vanessa Lynch, maintains that efficiency in state crime labs has seen a dramatic improvement over the last few years. “(When I went through to the laboratories), crime kits used to pile up on the floor,” says Lynch, speaking at a demonstration organised by the DNA Project at Cape Town Station, “but those have all been processed now and most labs have a turnaround time (for DNA results) of three months.”

“There is progress being made,” says Lynch. “We’ve got amazing technology in this country. We need to tap it, harness it and support it.”

Lynch argues that it is more constructive to focus on solutions to the problems facing the forensics system than to be unnecessarily critical, since this excessive criticism does more harm than good. “It’s not a perfect scenario but at least we have something to build on – you need to focus on the solutions.”

Despite all the negativity that surrounds forensic science in South Africa, there are cases that prove what justice officials – working with forensic professionals – are actually capable of.

On 21 July 2005, off a small road in Walkerville, Gauteng, Leigh Matthews’ naked body was found with a gunshot wound to the back of the head and bullet casings surrounding her body.

Because of a funnel web spider which had spun its web between Leigh’s thighs, and the lack of fly eggs and maggots on her body, the forensics team was able to ascertain that the area in which her body was found was not the murder scene – it had been staged.

This evidence directly contradicted the evidence of Leigh’s murderer, Donovan Moodley, who insisted he had told the young woman to strip and, while she huddled in a blanket, shot her in the field. Forensic science proved he was lying – and showed that Leigh had actually been frozen before her body was moved to the field.

In his argument for Moodley’s conviction, prosecutor Zaais van Zyl quoted two sentences from DH Lawrence that were repeated in countless newspaper reports: “The dead don’t die. They look on and help.” Moodley was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Touch DNA: Useful in Solving ‘Volume’ Crimes

Thu, May 24th, 2012

What is Touch DNA?


Touch DNA is a forensic method for analysing DNA left at the scene of a crime. It is called “touch DNA” because it only requires very small samples, for example, skin cells left on an object after it has been touched or handled. Touch DNA analysis only requires seven or eight cells from the outermost layer of human skin.(Wikipedia)

This relatively new forensic technique of using “touch DNA” is being employed in several countries to help solve those crimes which have  previously been too difficult or impossible to solve. This new technique is mostly used for investigating property or high volume crimes and involves testing evidence such as an object or broken glass for “touch DNA” – microscopic skin cells containing DNA that naturally rub off when an object, such as a cell phone or steering wheel, is touched.

Even gloves don’t let them get away with it!

Touch DNA technology can even be used if the suspect was wearing gloves at the time of committing the crime because there’s a high likelihood that the skin cells were transferred onto the gloves when the perpetrator was putting them on. Property and other nonviolent crimes are often overlooked in South Africa due to the fact that no violence was involved or due to a lack of physical evidence. Or so it seems….. However, the SA Forensic Science Lab recognises that not only do criminals have a ‘career path’ which often starts with less serious crimes, but more violent criminals also dabble in other types of crimes, such as housebreaking. This is why they advocate for the use of Touch DNA in South Africa. The rationale behind collecting DNA from ‘volume’ crimes would be to include these DNA profiles onto a DNA database where the chance of a match to a known suspect would be  increased.

A disposable vacuum collection system used for the forensic collection of liquids, fibers, powders, cellular material, blood, urine, and saliva. The Nib attachment allows the vacuum device to collect Touch DNA samples and other trace evidence

A disposable vacuum collection system used for the forensic collection of liquids, fibers, powders, cellular material, blood, urine, and saliva. The Nib attachment allows the vacuum device to collect Touch DNA samples and other trace evidence

This type of technology could be used  effectively in hijackings as there will be a large number of physical clues left behind in a vehicle if employing ‘Touch DNA’ as a methodology to collect evidence from these types of crimes.

Collecting  the best samples

In order to take advantage of touch DNA, it is also important  for the CSI to collect the right samples. This technique can be used on samples taken from guns, steering wheels, cell phones, glass, plastic, wood, cloth, fabric, to name a few. It does however require discretion inso far as focusing on the places a suspect is likely to have touched. Eg, in the case of a hijacking, taking samples from the entire dashboard would not be prudent.  Instead, the CSI should focus on processing the steering wheel; the door and the door handles; the rear view mirror; the gear stick; the controls for the windows, the stereo and the air conditioner.

If the crime scene is indoors, observe the scene. Did the suspect try to cover up by washing his hands? If so, tell the CSI to take samples from the faucet and sink surfaces. Look for bathroom or kitchen towels or discarded paper towels. (BUT DON’T TOUCH THEM!) Tell the CSI to remember to process the doors and windows that a suspect may have used to enter or exit the property/crime scene. Ensure that any clothing that may belong to the suspect is tested for touch DNA too. Finally, look for any items that are out of place—chances are, the suspect was the one who moved them!

If you are a non essential, non forensic person (in other words EVERYONE OTHER THAN A QUALIFIED CRIME SCENE INVETIGATOR!), keep out of the crime scene and take notes should you have observed anything which the CSI may be able to use to assist in his or her investigation of the crime scene.

Remember as always DNA CSI!

Vanessa Lynch

Please contact Maya Moodley at  maya@dnaproject.co.za should you wish to benefit from a free DNA Awareness workshop in your area.

Groundbreaking New Training Program Developed

Mon, Aug 15th, 2011

DNA Project team

DNA Project Team

Members of the DNA Project gathered together in Cape Town last month for the 2nd Annual DNA Project’s Trainers Workshop. The objective of this year’s workshop was to critically assess the DNA Awareness Campaign we have been running for the past year to identify whether any changes or improvements needed to be made to the programme, based on the field experience of our Trainers who have been hosting workshops throughout South Africa.

The second and more exciting reason for the gathering was to ‘brainstorm’ around the development of the innovative new ‘Train the Trainer’ program which the DNA Project wants to initiate as phase two of its DNA Awareness Campaign.

Currently, the way in which we have been disseminating DNA Awareness to the private security sector, guarding services, emergency services, community police forums, the justice system and general public, has been through directly contacting these sectors of the community and offering to host free DNA Awareness workshops at their respective premises.  We believe, however, that a more effective approach to ensure DNA Awareness training would be to introduce DNA Awareness training at Trainer level, which enables those organisations which conduct their own training to provide ongoing DNA Awareness training at their premises at their own convenience. We believe that by including DNA Awareness training as part of their basic crime scene management training, it will ensure that they are comprehensively taught about the value of crime scene preservation. In addition, no matter what the turnover of staff is within a company, each new employee will automatically receive DNA Awareness training at entry level. By creating DNA Awareness as an industry standard, these  sectors of the community will be able to offer this as an added value service to their existing protocols.

In other words, instead of ‘fishing’ for the community we would like to teach these sectors  how to ‘fish for themselves’.

How will a Train the Trainer workshop differ from our basic DNA Awareness Workshop we currently offer?

The Train the Trainer workshop will consist of a full day’s training, whereby an instructor from the DNA Project will impart the basics of the science behind DNA forensics and crime scene preservation. These Train the Trainer workshops, as with the DNA Awareness workshops, will be sponsored by the DNA Project and thus will be free of charge.

Course Outline

  • A simple summary of DNA, the techniques of DNA profiling and the benefits of a National DNA Criminal Intelligence Database in crime investigation.
  • The responsibilities of the First Officer attending the crime scene with potential DNA evidence will be covered.
  • The Trainers will be taught how to identify the potential sources, locations and limitations of DNA evidence so that they can pass on this valuable information to Trainees during crime scene training.
  • An overview of the correct handling and packaging of samples from crime scenes, suspects and complainants and who should be doing what.
  • Trainees will be provided with information relating to the legislation that regulates the use of DNA as an evidential tool.
  • The Trainees will briefed as to what actually happens in a South African Forensic Lab  and how much of “CSI” is fact and what is fiction.
  • The central message of our DNA Awareness Campaign will be covered, and the reasons why these six steps are so important will be explored , namely:

“DNA CSI”

D = DON’T TOUCH

N= NOTE & RECORD

A = ASSIST OTHER OFFICERS

C = COMFORT & SUPPORT VICTIMS

S = SECURE THE CRIME SCENE

I = INSIST NO-ONE INTERFERES

For more information, or if you interested in attending a Train the Trainer workshop or DNA Awareness workshop, please contact Maya Moodley at the DNA Project on maya@dnaproject.co.za or tel (021) 418 0647.

Exciting New Job Opportunities being offered at Forensic Science Labs throughout SA

Wed, Aug 10th, 2011

We are very excited to report that the Forensic Science Laboratory is currently looking for forensic analysts to fill over 150 new posts throughout SA. There are posts being offered in the Biology (DNA) Unit, Chemistry Unit as well as in Ballistics.
The generic minimum requirements applicable to all posts are as follows:

• Competence in the post-specific core functions of the advertised post

• Senior Certificate (Grade 12) and a relevant degree or diploma applicable to the specific post (NQF6), as specified below at each post

• Computer literate

• Valid motor vehicle driver’s licence is an advantage

• Fluent in at least two of the official languages, of which one must be English

• The posts are appointments in terms of the South African Police Service Act of 1995

• Recommended applicants will be subjected to a medical examination, before the appointment will be finally approved

• All successful candidates will undergo basic Police training and relevant specialised training in the field of application for a period that will be determined by the National Commissioner

• All applicants will be subjected to a vetting and relevant screening process

• Successful applicants may, upon appointment and completion of their training, be expected from time to time depending on the needs of the organisation to work flexi hours or shifts in the execution of their duties.

The closing date for applications is the 19 August 2011. Please also take note of the ***Important General Information posted below. If you are interested or know someone who may be interested in applying for a post at the FSL, please pass on this information.

Below please find details of the posts being offered or click here to view the original job advertisement.:

Forensic Science Laboratory
Forensic Analysts – DNA (Biology Unit) (76 Posts)
Western Cape (35 posts) (Ref. FS 155/2011) • KwaZulu-Natal (13 posts) (Ref. FS156/2011) • Pretoria (16) (Ref. FS 157/2011) • Eastern Cape (12 posts) (Ref. FS158/2011)

Section: Biology Component: Forensic Science Laboratory

Salary level: Band B1 Notch 3: R174 264 per annum
Core functions: Analyse biological material up to the level of evidence processing or analysis of DNA results • Submit reports regarding analysis performed • Present expert testimony in court.
Additional requirements: Degree/National Diploma in the Natural Sciences majoring in one or more of the following: Microbiology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Biotechnology, Medical Science/Technology, Molecular Biology and Physiology.

Forensic Analysts – Chemistry Unit (18 Posts)
Western Cape (8) (Ref. FS159/2011) • KwaZulu-Natal (2) (Ref. FS160/2011) • Pretoria (6) (Ref. FS161/2011) • Eastern Cape (2) (Ref.FS162/2011)

Section: Chemistry Sub-section: Drugs/Toxicology Component: Forensic Science Laboratory

Salary level: Band B1 Notch 3: R174 264 per annum
Core functions: Examine exhibit material of drug-related cases and toxicology cases, including the issuing of reports on relevant findings • Render expert evidence in court • Maintain the FSL Quality • Management System • Maintain instrumentation • Perform general administrative duties related to casework.
Additional requirements: BSc degree (majors: Chemistry/Analytical Chemistry/Organic Chemistry/Applied Chemistry/Pure and Applied Chemistry), or a National Diploma • BTech in Analytical Chemistry.
Forensic Analysts – Chemistry Unit (17 Posts)
Western Cape (5) (Ref. FS163/2011) • KwaZulu-Natal (4) (Ref. FS164/2011) • Pretoria (6) (Ref. FS 165/2011) • Eastern Cape (2) (Ref. FS166 /2011)

Section: Chemistry Sub-section: Fire Component: Forensic Science Laboratory Salary level: Band B1 Notch 3: R174 264 per annum
Core functions: Perform forensic crime scene investigations, mainly fire scene investigation and forensic analysis of exhibit material, including the issuing of reports on relevant findings • Render expert evidence in court • Maintain the FSL Quality Management System • Maintain instrumentation • Perform general administrative duties related to casework.
Additional requirements: BSc degree (majors: Chemistry/Analytical Chemistry/Organic Chemistry/Applied Chemistry/Pure and Applied Chemistry), or a National Diploma • BTech in Analytical Chemistry.
Assistant Engineers – Ballistics (6 Posts)
Western Cape (2) (Ref. FS167 /2011) • Pretoria (4) (Ref. FS168 /2011) Section: Ballistics Sub-section: Mechanical Engineering Component: Forensic Science Laboratory Salary level: Band B1 Notch 3: R174 264 per annum
Core functions: Render an effective and efficient mechanical and metallurgical engineering examination service to all investigators of crime • Administer the engineering case file assigned to the forensic analyst • Investigate crime scenes • Present testimony in court • Perform failure analysis on metallurgical samples • Investigate vehicle accidents • Support engineering investigations into vehicle theft crimes.
Additional requirements: BEng: Metallurgy and Mechanical Engineering or National Diploma/B Tech in Metallurgy and Mechanical Engineering • Registration with the Engineering Council of South Africa would be an added advantage.

Forensic Analysts – Ballistics (10 Posts)
Western Cape (3) (Ref. FS169/2011) • Pretoria (3) (Ref. FS 170/2011) • KwaZulu-Natal (4) (Ref. FS171/2011) Section: Ballistics Component: Forensic Science Laboratory Salary level: Band B1 Notch 3: R174 264 per annum
Core functions: Examine ballistic-related cases, including identification and analysis of firearms, tool mark analysis, bite mark analysis, wound ballistics and the establishment of the IBIS database • Investigate and reconstruct ballistic-related crime scenes • Submit reports regarding analyses performed • Present expert testimony in court • Perform general administrative duties related to casework.
Additional requirements: Degree/National Diploma majoring in one or more of the following: Forensic Investigation/Science, Criminalistics, Police Science, Armourer, Criminology, Police Administration, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Law of Evidence, Medical Technology, Medical Science, Physics, Chemistry – Analytical/Pure and Applied, Computer Science, Mathematical Statistics, Applied Mathematics, Metallurgy.

Forensic Analysts – Questioned Documents (10 Posts)
Western Cape (2) (Ref. FS172/2011) • Pretoria (2) (Ref. FS173 /2011) • KwaZulu-Natal (3) (Ref. FS174 /2011) • Eastern Cape (3) (Ref. FS 175/2011) Section: Questioned Documents Component: Forensic Science Laboratory Salary level: Band B1 Notch 3: R174 264 per annum
Core functions: Examine questioned document cases, including ink analysis, handwriting analysis, bank notes, identification and travel documentation as well as credit card analysis. • Establishment of questioned documents database. • Conduct questioned documents-related research. • Present expert testimony in court • Submit reports regarding analysis performed • Perform general administrative duties related to casework.
Additional requirements: National Diploma majoring in one or more of the following: Policing, Police Administration, Police Science • BA/BIuries/BProc/LLB or diploma in Chemistry • BA or BA (Hons) specialising in Criminology.

Forensic Analysts – Scientific Analysis (2 Posts)
Pretoria (Image) Section: Scientific Analysis Component: Forensic Science Laboratory Salary level: Band B1 Notch 3: R174 264 per annum (Ref. FS176/2011)
Core functions: Conduct forensic analysis of CCTV material • Present testimony in court • Attend crime scene • Research, develop and validate procedures • Perform general administrative duties related to casework.
Additional requirements: National Diploma/B Tech in one or more of the following: Fine Arts/Graphic Design with Photography as a subject, Multimedia or Photography • Proven and demonstrable experience in Adobe Premium.

Forensic Analysts – Scientific Analysis (2 Posts)
Pretoria (Material Analysis)
Section: Scientific Analysis Component: Forensic Science Laboratory Salary level: Band B1 Notch 3: R174 264 per annum (Ref. FS 177/2011)
Core functions: Conduct scientific analysis and examine cases, mainly environmental and/or geological, including precious metals and soil analysis • Present expert testimony in court • Submit reports regarding analyses performed • Examine the crime scene • Maintain and calibrate instruments • Perform general administrative duties related to casework.
Additional requirements: Degree majoring in one or more of the following: Analytical Chemistry or Geology with a minimum of three years’ experience in an analytical laboratory • Proven and demonstrable experience in one or more of statistics, microscopy, mineralogy, gemology and analytical chemistry will be an added advantage.

Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management
Forensic Analyst: Laboratory Technicians

• Eastern Cape: * Cradock (2) (Ref. FS 178/2011) * Grahamstown (2) (Ref. FS 179/2011) * Fort Beaufort (1) (Ref. FS 180/2011) * Jeffreys Bay (1) (Ref. FS 181/2011) * King William’s Town (2) (Ref. FS 182/2011) * Middelburg (2) (Ref. FS 183/2011) * Port Alfred (2) (Ref. FS 184/2011) * Mount Road (PE) (1) (Ref. FS 185/2011) * Queenstown (1) (Ref. FS 186/2011) * Uitenhage (1) (Ref. FS 187/2011) * Province Task Team (5) (Ref. FS 188/2011) * Mthatha (1) (Ref. FS 189/2011) • Free State: * Welkom (2) (Ref. FS 190/2011) * Parkweg (Bloemfontein) (1) (Ref. FS 191/2011) * Bethlehem (2) (Ref. FS 192/2011) * Kroonstad (1) (Ref. FS 193/2011) * Puthaditjhaba(1) (Ref. FS 194/2011) * Selosesha (1) (Ref. FS 195/2011) * Sasolburg (2) (Ref. FS 196/2011) • Gauteng: * Joburg Central (1) (Ref. FS 197/2011) * Krugersdorp (1) (Ref. FS 198/2011) * Pretoria Central (1) (Ref. FS 199/2011) * Protea Glen (1) (Ref. FS 200/2011) * Kempton Park (1) (Ref. FS 201/2011) * Sandton (2) (Ref. FS 202/2011) * Pretoria North (1) (Ref. FS 203/2011) * Vereeniging (1) (Ref. FS 204/2011) • Lyttelton (1) (Ref. FS 205/2011) * Springs (1) (Ref. FS 206/2011) * Garankuwa (1) (Ref. FS 207/2011) • KwaZulu-Natal: * Ladysmith (1) (Ref. FS 208/2011) * Vryheid (1) (Ref. FS 209/2011) * Mtubatuba (2) (Ref. FS 210/2011) * Newcastle (1) (Ref. FS 211/2011) * Kokstad (1) (Ref. FS 212/2011) * Pietermaritzburg (1) (Ref. FS 213/2011) • Limpopo: * Lephalale (1) (Ref. FS 214/2011) * Modimolle (1) (Ref. FS 215/2011) * Lebowakgomo (1) (Ref. FS 216/2011) * Thabazimbi (1) (Ref. FS 217/2011) * Thohoyandou (1) (Ref. FS 218/2011) * Musina (1) (Ref. FS 219/2011) * Polokwane (1) (Ref. FS 220/2011) • Mpumalanga: * Ermelo (1) (Ref. FS 221/2011) * Acornhoek (1) (Ref. FS 222/2011) * Witbank (1) (Ref. FS 223/2011) * Lydenburg (1) (Ref. FS 224/2011) * Secunda (1) (Ref. FS 225/2011) * Nelspruit (1) (Ref. FS 226/2011) * Elukwatini (2) (Ref. FS 227/2011) • North West: * Brits (1) (Ref. FS 228/2011) * Klerksdorp (1) (Ref. FS 229/2011) * Lichtenburg (1) (Ref. FS 230/2011) * Mmabatho (1) (Ref. FS 231/2011) * Potchefstroom (2) (Ref. FS 232/2011) * Rustenburg (1) (Ref. FS 233/20110 * Vryburg (2) (Ref. FS 234/2011) • Northern Cape: * De Aar (1) (Ref. FS 235/2011) * Upington (1) (Ref. FS 236/2011) * Springbok (1) (Ref. FS 237/2011) * Kimberley (1) (Ref. FS 238/2011) * Kuruman (1) (Ref. FS 239/2011) • Western Cape: * Cape Town Central (1) (Ref. FS 240/2011) * Mitchells Plain (1) (Ref. FS 241/2011) * Bellville (1) (Ref. FS 242/2011) * Worcester (1) (Ref. FS 243/2011) * Beaufort West (1) (Ref. FS 244/2011) * George (1) (Ref. FS 245/2011) * Somerset West (1) (Ref. FS 246/2011) * Paarl (1) (Ref. FS 247/2011) * Vredendal (1) (Ref. FS 248/2011) • National Crime Scene Management: Pretoria (2) (Ref. FS 249/2011)
Salary level: Band B1 Notch 3: R174 264 per annum
Core functions: Process evidence/exhibits in the LCRC Laboratory • Adhere to procedures for receiving and processing evidence for fingerprints • Attend to crime scenes on request for the development and capturing of fingerprints on immovable items by means of specialised scientific equipment • Adhere to procedures for capturing and recording of the results of fingerprints and related examinations and represent evidence in court of law • Maintain the LCRC Laboratory facility and equipment according to the prescribed standards, whilst adhering to the guidelines of the Safety, Health and Environment Regulations • Maintain a quality control system in the LCRC Laboratory.
Requirements: Degree/National Diploma in Natural Science/Forensic Investigations/Criminalistic/Criminology or any NQF 6 qualifications relevant to Laboratory environment.

Forensic Analyst (Crime Scene Management)
• Eastern Cape: * Grahamstown (2) (Ref. FS 250/2011) * Maluti (2) (Ref. FS 251/2011) * Elliot (2) (Ref. FS 252/2011) * Butterworth (2) (Ref. FS 253/2011) * Fort Beaufort (2) (Ref. FS 254/2011) * Graaff-Reinett (2) (Ref. FS 255/2011) Middelburg (2) * East London (2) (Ref. FS 256/2011) * (Ref. FS 257/2011) * Mount Road (4) (Ref. FS 258/2011) * Jeffreys Bay (2) (Ref. FS 259/2011) * Provincial Task Team (5) (Ref. FS 260/2011) • Free State: * Welkom (4) (Ref. FS 261/2011) * Parkweg (6)(Ref. FS 262/2011) * Bethlehem (3) (Ref. FS 263/2011) * Kroonstad (3) (Ref. FS 264/2011) * Phuthaditjhaba (2)(Ref. FS 265/2011) * Selosesha (3) (Ref. FS 266/2011) * Sasolburg (2) (Ref. FS 267/2011) • Gauteng: * Johannesburg Central (3) (Ref. FS 268/201) * Krugersdorp (2) (Ref. FS 269/2011) * Pretoria Central (2) (Ref. FS 270/2011) * Protea Glen (2) (Ref. FS 271/2011) * Kempton Park (2) (Ref. FS 272/2011) * Sandton (2) (Ref. FS 273/2011) * Pretoria North (3) (Ref. FS 274/2011) * Vereeniging (2) (Ref. FS 275/2011) * Lyttelton (2) (Ref. FS 276/2011) * Springs (2) (Ref. FS 277/2011) * Garankuwa (2) (Ref. FS 278/2011) * Germiston (2) (Ref. FS 279/2011) • North West: * Brits (2) (Ref. FS 280/2011) * Klerksdorp (3)(Ref. FS 281/2011) * Lichtenburg (2) (Ref. FS 282/2011) * Mmabatho (3)(Ref. FS 283/2011) * Pudimoe (2) (Ref. FS 284/2011) * Zeerust (3) (Ref. FS 285/2011) * Potchefstroom (3) (Ref. FS 286/2011) * Rustenburg (3) (Ref. FS 287/2011) * Vryburg (2) (Ref. FS 288/2011) • Northern Cape: * De Aar (9) (Ref. FS 289/2011) * Upington (4) (Ref. FS 290/2011) * Springbok (7) (Ref. FS 291/2011) * Kimberley (6) (Ref. FS 292/2011) * Kuruman (4) (Ref. FS 293/2011) • Western Cape: * Provincial Task Team (6) (Ref. FS 294/2011) * Mitchells Plain (3) (Ref. FS 295/2011) * Bellville (3) (Ref. FS 296/2011) * Worcester (3) (Ref. FS 297/2011) * George (3) (Ref. FS 298/2011) * Somerset West (3) (Ref. FS 299/2011) * Paarl (2) (Ref. FS 300/2011) * Oudtshoorn (3) (Ref. FS 301/2011) • KwaZulu-Natal: * Ladysmith (2) (Ref. FS 302/2011) * Mtubatuba (2) (Ref. FS 303/2011) * Newcastle (2) (Ref. FS 304/2011) * Kokstad (2) (Ref. FS 305/2011) * Pietermaritzburg (2) (Ref. FS 306/2011) * Durban (3) (Ref. FS 307/2011) * Nqutu (2) (Ref. FS 308/2011) * Richards Bay (2)(Ref. FS 309/2011) * Ulundi (2) (Ref. FS 310/2011) * Vryheid (2) (Ref. FS 311/20110 * Port Shepstone (2) (Ref. FS 312/2011) • Limpopo: * Lephalale (1) (Ref. FS 313/2011) * Modimolle (2) (Ref. FS 314/2011) * Lebowakgomo (2) (Ref. FS 315/2011) * Thabazimbi(1) (Ref. FS 316/2011) * Thohoyandou (2) (Ref. FS 317/2011) * Musina (1) (Ref. FS 318/2011) * Polokwane (3) (Ref. FS 319/2011) * Groblersdal (1) (Ref. FS 320/2011) * Makhado (2) (Ref. FS 321/2011) * Mokopane (1) (Ref. FS 322/2011) * Phalaborwa (2) (Ref. FS 323/2011) * Tzaneen (2) (Ref. FS 324/2011) • Mpumalanga: * Ermelo (3) (Ref. FS 325/2011) * Acornhoek (2) (Ref. FS 326/2011) * Witbank (2) (Ref. FS 327/2011) * Lydenburg (2) (Ref. FS 328/2011) * Secunda (2) (Ref. FS 329/2011) * Nelspruit (2) (Ref. FS 330/2011) * Elikwatini (2) (Ref. FS 331/2011) * Kwamhlanga (2) (Ref. FS 332/2011) • National Crime Scene Management: Pretoria (2) (Ref. FS 333/2011)
Salary level: Band B1 Notch 3: R174 264 per annum
Core functions: Process crime scenes • Compile and provide related documents, such as exhibits which include, but are not limited, to fingerprints, photography plan drawing, videography forensic field work (ballistics) • Re-construct events and lead and submit evidence in court • Capture information with regard to SAPS Computerised Systems • Ensure optimal utilisation of resources.
Requirements: Degree/National Diploma in Natural Science/Forensic Investigations/Criminalistic/Criminology or any NQF 6 qualifications relevant to the Laboratory environment.

Forensic Analyst (Facial Identification)
Gauteng: Pretoria (1) (Ref. FS 334/2011) Salary level: Band B1 Notch 3: R174 264 per annum
Core functions: Compile a face with computer software from a verbal description of the witness or complainant • Provide a physical description and modus operandi of a wanted person or suspect • Sketch jewellery, other items or unidentified people to aid in the tracing of identification • Present lectures to SAPS members • Compile all applicable administrative documents and maintain resources • 2-D and 3-D facial reconstruction.
Requirements: Degree/National Diploma SAQA accredited NQF6 qualification with specification in Arts of which Fine Arts will be an advantage.

***Important General Information:

Only the official SAPS application_form (available on the SAPS website and at SAPS Recruitment Offices) will be accepted. The Z83 previously utilised will no longer be accepted

• All instructions on the application form must be adhered to, since failure to do so may result in the rejection of the application

• The application must be accompanied by all relevant certified copies of tertiary qualifications, academic record, Senior Certificate or Grade 12 Certificates, ID document, valid driver’s licence (where applicable), where applicable marriage certificate, ID of spouse and children birth certificates/ID and a detailed CV. No application will be accepted without these documents. The South African Police Service will verify the residential address and qualifications of applicants, as well as citizenship

• Reference checking will be conducted on all short-listed applicants

• The post particulars and reference number of the post must be correctly specified on the application form

• Applicants must not have been found guilty of previous criminal convictions or have left the Public Service as a result of a severance package, early retirement or medical reasons, as these applications will be rejected

• Short-listed candidates for appointment to certain identified posts, will be vetted in terms of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act No 32 of 2007) and the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No 38 of 2005). A candidate whose particulars appear in either the National Register for Sex Offenders or Part B of the Child Protection Register, will be disqualified from appointment to that post

• Through the filling of the abovementioned posts, applicants whose appointment will promote representivity may receive preference. If a candidate is short-listed, it can be expected of him/her to undergo a personal interview

• The South African Police Service is under no obligation to fill the post after the advertisement thereof

• Although the post is advertised, the National Commissioner may withdraw the post from the advertisement, re-advertise the post or fill the post by transferring a person at the same level where this is deemed to be in the interest of service delivery

• Applicants are advised to apply for posts closer to their residence

• Correspondence will be conducted with successful applicants only

• Late applications will not be considered

• No faxed applications will be allowed

• Applicants must submit separate applications for each post.

The closing date for applications is Friday, 2011-08-19.

Applications can be directed to:

Physical Address: 730 Pretorius Street, Sterlizia building, Arcadia, 0083.

Postal Address: Private Bag X322, Pretoria 0001,for attention: SPO SW Matsheni/SPO MP Motjelele.

Enquiries: SPO SW Matsheni/SPO MP Motjelele, tel. (012) 421-0584.

For the Provinces, applications and enquiries can be directed to the following addresses:
Gauteng Province: Johannesburg: The Provincial Head: Gauteng Province, Private Bag X19, Johannesburg 2000 or hand-deliver at Room 202, 2nd Floor, SAPS Building No 1, Commissioner Street, Johanneburg, for attention: Colonel MA Lotter Enquiries: Colonel MA Lotter, tel. (011) 497-7253

Eastern Cape Province: King William’s Town: Private Bag X7471, King William’s Town 5600 or hand-deliver at Cash Build Buildings, No 5 Cowen Close, Schornville, King William’s Town, for attention: Colonel Mpalo Enquiries: Colonel Mpalo, tel. (043) 604-6302/6303 Port Elizabeth: Private Bag X6019, Port Elizabeth 6000 or hand- deliver at Urban Donges Building, Hancock Street, North End, Port Elizabeth 6000, for attention: PO M Bradley or PO J Ntshiliza Enquiries: PO M Bradley or PO J Ntshiliza, tel. (041) 407-6706

Free State Province: Private Bag X20560, Bloemfontein 9300 or hand-deliver at corner Aliwal and Fontein Streets, Bloemfontein, for attention: Lt Col Setshego Enquiries: Lt Col Setshego, tel. (051) 507-6637/8.

KwaZulu-Natal Province: Durban: PO Box, 1965 Durban 4000 or hand-deliver at 2nd Floor, Servamus Building, 15 Ordinance Road, Durban, for attention: Capt Sighn Enquiries: Capt Sighn, tel. (031) 325-5916 Amazimtoti: PO Box 2082, Amazimtoti 4125 or hand-deliver at King Crest Building, 415 Kingsway Road, Kingsway, Amazimtoti 4125, for attention: SPO TN Dinga or SPO NL Makhubo Enquiries: SPO TN Dinga or SPO NL Makhubo, tel. (031) 904-0791

Limpopo Province: PO Box 829, Polokwane 0788 or hand-delliver at 8 Albatross Building, 19 Mark Street, Polokwane Enquiries: Capt Manya, tel. (015) 290-6797 Mpumalanga Province: Private Bag X1801, Middelburg 1050 or hand-deliver at 1st Floor, The Oak Centrum, corner Hendrik Potgieter and Cadc Streets, Middelburg, for attention: Colonel van Wyk or CAC A Carstens Enquiries: Colonel van Wyk or CAC A Carstens, tel. (013) 249-8236

Northern Cape Province: Private Bag X5001, Kimberley 8300 or hand-deliver at 3rd Floor, 33 Woodley Street, Kimberley, for attention: Lt Col Hlakanye Enquiries: Lt Col Hlakanye, tel. (053) 838-5643 North West: Private Bag X801, Potchefstroom 2531 or hand-deliver at 3rd Floor, Louis Le Grange Building, corner Peter Mokaba and Wolmarans Streets, Potchefstroom, for attention: Lt Col Knoetze Enquiries: Lt Col Knoetze, tel. (018) 299- 7067

Western Cape Province: Cape Town: Private Bag X9113, Cape Town 8000 or hand-deliver at 3rd Floor, Thomas Boydell Building, Parade Street, Cape Town Enquiries: Brigadier Jacobs or Lt Col Gouws, tel. (021) 467-6231/6240 Kuils River: Private Bag X3, Brandwood Park, Kuils River 7579 or hand-deliver at Somchem Building, A81 Reeb Road, Macassar 7130, for attention: Capt M Swart. Enquiries: Capt M Swart, tel. (021) 850-2880.

Raped again – by the system

Wed, Jun 8th, 2011

The article written by Chris Asplen has now been published in Gauteng (Saturday Star, 11 June 2011) , KZN (The Witness, 10 June 2011) and the Western Cape (Sunday Argus, 5 June 2011). The Editor of the Saturday Star took it one step further and commented on Chis Asplen’s article in his Editorial. This is what he had to say:

The editorial refers to the article which has appeared in all three major provinces in South Africa, which was originally written and published in an international Forensic Magazine. It is an opinion piece written by Chris Asplen, who was recently in South Africa, and which visit obviously drove him to write this article. It is uncomprisingly direct and honest and very hard hitting insofar as how the international forensic community view our MP’s. I wonder if any of the members of the portfolio committee for police who are ‘reviewing’ the DNA Bill, read this about themselves? And if so, how did it make them feel? I personally, would not like to have the blood of these and future victims on my hands. Perhaps, however they will prove Mr Asplen wrong, and actually get on with the job at hand this year? Well, we live in hope, as do all the rape survivors and future victims…

Forensic DNA Database legislation urgently needed amid rape epidemic

I am a former prosecutor in the United States where I was the advisor to two US Attorneys General on the use of forensic DNA technology and where I was the Executive Director of the US Department of Justice’s National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence.  My specialty as a prosecutor was the prosecution of sex crimes committed against children. I left the Department of Justice about 10 years ago and began consulting internationally on the integration of forensic DNA evidence into criminal justice systems. I have been fortunate to help over 35 countries realize the potential of DNA technology to protect victims – mostly women and children – from the horrors of rape. I have spent equal time and energy to protect  the innocent – mostly men – from the tragedy of wrongful conviction with the very same technology.

When I first started working abroad, my presentations would often start with a rhetorical question that went something like this:  “What is the most important factor influencing the success of forensic DNA databasing?  Is it the quality of the laboratory performing the analysis? Is it the training and education of the police ensuring that they collect valuable evidence?  Or perhaps the skill with which prosecutors can leverage the probative value of DNA to support their victims’ testimony?” But of course it was a loaded question.  I had my own answer. “It’s actually none of these…” I would say. “The most important factor influencing the potential effect of DNA in any criminal justice system is what the law allows you to do with it.”

Now I am a little biased here.  I am a lawyer by training, by education and probably by nature. But I have a pretty good argument.  You can have the best, most advanced laboratory system in the world, the most rigorous quality assurance procedures, and send specialized crime scene analysts to every crime scene – but those factors mean little if the law does not allow you leverage the full potential of the technology and the evidence.

Nowhere is that dynamic more tragically clear than in South Africa.

I first traveled to South Africa 10 years ago. I left the Department of Justice less than a year earlier and had been invited to participate in a meeting of Interpol’s DNA Expert Monitoring Group in Pretoria.  It was my first trip to the continent so to say that I was excited is an understatement. I did not, in all honesty though, harbor great expectations regarding what I would see from the standpoint of South Africa’s use of DNA technology. But when I saw what the South African Police Service (SAPS) was doing, I was nothing short of astounded.  The SAPS had an automated system for DNA analysis that was unique in the world.  As we toured through the laboratory I realized that it was, at that time,  the most advanced forensic DNA testing robotics system I had ever seen.  I was so impressed that I literally walked out of the lab, got on my phone and called my former colleagues at DOJ trying to convince them to bring Johann and his colleagues to the US so that they could explain what they were doing.  South Africa was going to be a model, not only for Africa, but perhaps for the world.  They had crime statistics that proved South Africa to be one of the most sexually violent places on the planet and they had the capacity and technical sophistication to hit back hard.  South Africa was going to prove the power of DNA like nowhere else.

The automated DNA Robotics system at the Pretoria Forensics Lab

The automated DNA Robotics system at the Pretoria Forensics Lab

Boy was I wrong.

I have just returned from another trip to South Africa, a trip I have made many times since my first visit. And to be clear, it is not the police that have failed, nor is it the technology, nor is it the laboratory personnel.  Rather, ten years after South Africa created one of the most important laboratory infrastructures in the world, the politicians in the South African Parliament have still failed to give police the legal authority to save literally thousands upon thousands of lives with DNA.  Ten years later and South Africa, in contrast with more than 50 countries around the world, still has no legislation allowing for the establishment of a forensic DNA database.

South Africa is a strikingly beautiful country from its coast line at the Cape of Good Hope to Krugar National Park to the wine regions of Stellenbosch.  It is also the economic anchor for sub-Saharan Africa.   It has a technology portfolio that includes a nuclear weapons program (and the wisdom to subsequently dismantle it) a 2002 Noble Prize for work in microbiology and the first human to human heart transplant was performed in South Africa.   And most importantly, it is a country which engineered one of the most significant triumphs of human spirit and potential – the non-violent elimination of apartheid

But South Africa is also a country that, according to the United Nations, ranks second for murder and first for assaults and rapes per capita. 52 people are murdered every day there and the number of rapes reported in a year is around 55,000.  It is estimated that 500,000 rapes are committed annually in South Africa. In a 2009 survey, one in four South African men admitted to raping someone.  Even more insidiously, South Africa has one of the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world.  It is a country where the belief exists that intercourse will cure or prevent HIV/AIDS and where child rape is used as a method of retaliation against someone else for a perceived wrong.  Children are murdered and body parts used for “traditional” medicinal remedies.  And in a country also cursed with epidemic rates of HIV/Aids, rape takes on an exponentially tragic dimension.

The world holds no shortage of human tragedies.  But most of those tragedies persist because there are no clear, identifiable fixes.  Feeding entire starving countries from overworked, infertile land or generating clean, lifesaving water from dry, parched earth are heavy lifts.  Wars and the conflicts that lead to catastrophic loss of human life have been with us since the beginning of time.  But when it comes to fighting back against serial rapists and pedophiles? I have examples from every corner of the planet of exactly what works and just how well.  There is nothing better at getting rapists off the street, at protecting little girls and, by the way, at protecting those who would be wrongly accused and convicted of those serious crimes than DNA databases.

And what exacerbates the tragedy tenfold is the fact that, unlike many countries with the wisdom to implement DNA databases fully, South Africa already has all the other components necessary to leverage the power DNA technology -the laboratory system, the finances, the education and the commitment by police. There are no other excuses, nowhere  else to place responsibility.

As someone who works regularly in other peoples’ countries, I don’t “call out” or criticize foreign  officials easily or often.  But on a scale unequaled anywhere else on earth, hundreds of thousands of children’s lives are sacrificed because of the failure to act by politicians in South Africa.  The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee responsible for the legislation that would give police the ability to immediately begin taking rapists off the street has avoided acting on the law for years.  The legislation sits in Committee while the worst sexual violence statistics in the world continue to pile up.   Except they are not really statistics. They are terrified woman and little girls staring into the face of horrific violence and evil while they are likely infected with HIV – three more of them just in the time it took you to read this article.

Chris Asplen

Executive Director, DNA 4 Africa

Casplen@DNA4Africa.org