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‘DNA project’ nails serial killers, rapists, in KZN

Senior prosecutors in KwaZulu-Natal are scouring DNA reports to identify serial rapists, with Elaine Zungu, the province’s Director of Public Prosecutions, saying DNA testing by the forensic laboratory had been expedited by the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) DNA project launched in October 2020.

She said her division had forwarded its list of outstanding cases where DNA was required to those who manage the project and “KZN is fortunate as we have received more than 1 000 of these reports”, reports TimesLIVE.

“Some indicate that the accused’s DNA has been linked to other cases in KZN and, in some instances, other provinces. The NPA is looking at how these cases will be uniformly approached,” she said. “In the interim, a KZN team is working on all the DNA reports received since the project’s inception to identify serial rapist cases.”

Regarding gender-based violence (GBV), the conviction rate in the province for sexual offences was 70%, she said, with 341 cases being finalised: 244 of them resulted in guilty verdicts.

“In the past six months we have also achieved a 97.7% conviction rate in intimate partner femicide prosecutions and a 95.7% conviction rate in femicide prosecutions.”

In noteworthy cases, Zungu said in August Mduduzi Shembe was sentenced to an effective life imprisonment term for the rape and robbery of several women in their homes in Umlazi and Tongaat. He was linked to the offences with DNA evidence.

In May, a man was sentenced to three life terms after pleading guilty to raping three members of his family, two boys and a girl, aged between eight and 12.


TimesLIVE article – KZN's ‘DNA project’ successful in tracking serial killers, rapists (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


FBI’s free DNA system coming to SA soon


KZN: Rape and murder of child highlights ‘tragic consequences’ of DNA test backlog


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