New-look DNA Bill adopted

14 August 2013 - 09:23 By Denise Williams
Gene therapy works by modifying a patient's DNA to combat a specific disease, and has been experimented with to treat everything from blindness to depression and brain wasting diseases.
Gene therapy works by modifying a patient's DNA to combat a specific disease, and has been experimented with to treat everything from blindness to depression and brain wasting diseases.
Image: Supplied

THE "DNA Bill" intended to strengthen the police's powers to collect samples for forensic examination and to store DNA profiles has been adopted by the National Assembly's oversight committee.

THE "DNA Bill" intended to strengthen the police's powers to collect samples for forensic examination and to store DNA profiles has been adopted by the National Assembly's oversight committee.

Speaking to the portfolio committee on the police yesterday, police divisional commander for technology management services Lieutenant-General Bonginkosi Ngubane said it was estimated that the systems necessary for the implementation of the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill would be in place within 511 days of its being signed into law.

The department has allocated R148-million over the next three years to develop the system.

The bill was introduced in parliament five years ago but was criticised as unconstitutional and open to abuse. In its re-drafted form, it stipulates that DNA samples can be taken only by specially trained police officers who must work as unobtrusively as possible. The crimes in connection with which samples may or must be taken have been limited to serious offences such as murder, treason, torture, and firearm-related and sexual offences.

The samples would have to be destroyed after being examined but the DNA profiles generated from them would be stored.