South African rape kit shortage blamed for lack of solvency in rape cases

Nicole Lafond Contributor
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South Africa’s parliament called the shortage of rape kits at police stations the reason many perpetrators end up not being convicted of rape crimes in the country.

“Without rape kits, we lose crucial evidence which is key to the successful prosecution of rapists,” said Annelize van Wyk, Acting Committee Chariperson of Parliament’s Police Committee.

Police stations in South Africa are running out of DNA testing kits used to collect evidence from adult female rape victims. The Parliament Police Committee condemned the situation Tuesday, asking the police department to respond immediately to the shortage.

Van Wyk said urgency was necessary because of the high incidences of rape in the country.

The Gauteng health department addressed the concern over DNA kit shortages seven months ago, when they asked the police department to include DNA or sexual assault kits as part of post mortem procedures, News24 reported.

The health department said a shortage of kits creates “loopholes” and results in rape suspects walking free.

The Parliament Police Committee also urged the police department to make arrests in the case involving the gang rape and murder of 28-year-old Thandiswa Qubuda in their statement on Tuesday, claiming the case was drawn out because of a shortage of rape kits.

Many police stations have resorted to the usage of expired DNA kits, iafrica News reported. However, the South African Police Station (SAPS) released a statement refuting the likelihood of using expired kits and confirmed that they were aware of the problem.

“Recognizing this lack, the Management redirected the stockpile from regions wherein there is an oversupply to where shortage is being experienced. The redistribution process of the kits is currently underway,” the statement said.

SAPS also confirmed that the new stock of kits would be delivered this month.

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