chapter  11
16 Pages

South Africa

WithL Meintjes-Van der Walt

Applications of DNA analysis have been extended to forensic investigations and consequently a profusion of questions have arisen with regard to the collection of samples and methodological standards, the reliability and interpretation of results, and regulation of testing in general. The use of extremely small crime samples as a source of DNA for forensic investigation only began in South Africa in 1995 and was both accepted and challenged in court in the same year. Section 37 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1977 makes specific provision for the taking of the necessary steps in order to ascertain whether the body of an arrested person has 'any mark, characteristic or distinguishing feature or shows any condition or appearance'. In South Africa, the Biology Unit of the Police Forensic Science Laboratory is the primary laboratory specialising in DNA testing for prosecution purposes. The Laboratory for Tissue Immunology at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town also tests DNA evidence in criminal cases on request.