South Africa

The murder case marks a stark reminder of how the DNA backlog crisis is delaying justice

Cape Town – The Brand murder case clearly demonstrates the urgency with which South Africa’s DNA backlog crisis – which at the last known date stood at 200,000 DNA exhibits – needs to be resolved, said Annette van Wyk, DA councilor at Phokwane Municipality.

Danie Brand, 83, his wife Breggie, 73, and their eldest daughter Elzabe, 54, were about to sit down for lunch on Sunday July 26 of last year when they were attacked. The incident happened on their small property in Hartswater, Northern Cape.

On the evening of July 27, Elzabe’s body was found in a field about 25 km from their farm. The bodies of his parents were found in shallow graves in the early hours of July 28, about a mile from where Elzabe was found.

Khomotso Mpumlwana, 43, Tshepo Visagie, 36, Donald Seolesang, 20, Tshepaone Melato, 19, and Realeboga Manyedi, 18, were subsequently charged with theft, kidnapping and murder. Police had recovered a Sahara laptop and a Samsung J5 cell phone which had been pawned at a store for R400.

Yet the National Forensic Science Laboratory is apparently only now busy with the DNA pieces of the triple murder case. This was revealed today in Hartswater Magistrates’ Court, where the trial had to be postponed until August 12 due to the exceptional DNA results, Van Wyk said.

Today’s umpteenth delay has once again prevented justice from taking its course. DNA backlogs should not delay the conviction of perpetrators of murder and violent crime, for indefinite periods.

Rather, DNA results should be used as a real-time tool, to speed up lengthy justice system processes, so that criminals can get their deserved sentences, while anyone affected by crime can also get closure as soon as possible.

To tackle violent crime, the situation requires urgent and dedicated attention from South African law enforcement. The DA will re-engage with the Acting Provincial Police Commissioner, Major-General Henriette de Waal, calling on SAPS to keep the pressure on the lab for the DNA results of this priority case.

“The DA will continue to monitor all legal proceedings related to this case, further pressing our part to ultimately secure successful convictions of the perpetrators of the Brand murders.”

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The murder case marks a stark reminder of how the DNA backlog crisis is delaying justice

SourceThe murder case marks a stark reminder of how the DNA backlog crisis is delaying justice

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