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The relevance of forensic laboratories in assisting with fighting and solving crime in South Africa.

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According to media sources, there seems to be a major backlog of cases of crime within the criminal justice system, more specifically in forensic laboratories, some even as old as a decade, that still need to be investigated and concluded, in South Africa. Many cases have also been struck off the roll for various reasons, such as lack of evidence, unavailability of witnesses or inadequate facilities available to conduct tests for investigative purposes. This research takes the form of a desktop study that brings to light factors that affect the investigation of crime as well as prevention of crime, within forensic laboratories in South Africa. The current state of forensic laboratories is one such variable that seems to be hindering its own progress in assisting with fighting and solving crime, both locally and internationally. Forensic laboratories play a major role in assisting with crime prevention as well as solving crimes that have already occurred. The presence of more forensic laboratories will assist in creating jobs, increasing job satisfaction, as well as play a major role in contributing towards reducing overall crime rates and other factors associated with a high crime rate, such as the population of correctional centres. When resources and facilities are adequately used to its full potential, by trained and competent staff, it positively contributes to the reduction of crime, deterrence of crime and indirectly affects various other institutions within the criminal justice system such as correctional facilities, where innocent suspects may have been wrongfully held for long periods of time while criminals are still liberally roaming the streets without a care in the world.


Master of Social Sciences in Criminology and Forensic Studies. University of KwaZulu-Natal. Durban, 2017.