New lab a weapon against crime: Mthethwa
A new police forensics lab in Cape Town is a modern weapon in the fight against crime, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says.
"What we are witnessing today is how modernised systems, coupled with the equipped human resources can... contribute towards an improved turnaround time in terms of processing forensic case work," he said.
"Let this laboratory become a value-add in our efforts of fighting crime... This state-of-the art building must not become a white elephant."
The minister was speaking at the opening of the R600 million lab in Plattekloof, now the fourth forensics facility in the country, which took six years to build.
The lab had been in operation since November, servicing the province, as well as the Northern Cape and parts of the Eastern Cape.
Mthethwa said he was satisfied with the improved performance at forensics labs, which had seen a 63 percent caseload increase in the last financial year. Backlogs had decreased by 30 percent within the same period.
He said the government had no intention to privatise the laboratories, despite calls by some in the light of the backlogs.
"This decision is further informed by empirical research as well as our international counterparts, who concur with us that privatisation is not a viable option."
The three other labs are in Port Elizabeth, Durban and Pretoria. The police used the facilities to process evidence found at crime scenes, to paint a picture of perpetrators and their modus operandi.