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In a bid to reduce delays, the SAPS is starting a trailblazing programme in Africa to train 100 matriculants in forensic science.
The selected matriculants, who have passed mathematics and physical science and are computer literate, will undergo a year-long National Certificate Forensic Science training course.
The course was launched at Mitanoya Training College in Honeydew, West Rand, yesterday and graduation will be in December next year.
The SAPS expects more than 400 students to enroll for the certificate in the next four years. This will help beef up capacity in its forensic science division as the recruits will become full members of the force when they complete the course.
This is the first-ever training course for members of the police service in forensic science at this level in Africa and is part of the government's ongoing review of the criminal justice system.
"There is no formal forensic science training currently existing on the continent and it is envisaged that this certificate would be used for entry level science qualifications in Africa," SAPS training divisional Commissioner Gary Kruser said.
The SAPS said that the benefits to the country would be immense "as it would certainly lead to an increased conviction rate in criminal cases".
Neliswa Tshali, 29, from Cape Town said: "I am very excited and proud to be part of this SAPS forensic science learnership and I am enjoying myself. I always wanted to help combat crime in our country".