Department of Health puts Forensic Analyst on suspension

The Department of Health has put one of its Forensic analysts, based in Pretoria Forensic Laboratory Services on precautionary suspension from employment in terms of clause 7.2 of the PSCBC resolution 1 of 2003 with full pay.

However, the matter is handed over to the HAWKS as the Department believes that the allegations levelled against the official are criminal and fraudulent. It is alleged that the official failed to follow strict and proper operational (protocols) procedures when analyzing blood samples as detected during a routine quality inspection by senior officials.

The forensic laboratories provide Blood alcohol analysis, Toxicology (poison detection services) and Food analysis. There are four forensic laboratories that provide these functions and are in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The functions of the Forensic Laboratory Services are extremely important for the criminal justice system, the insurance system and the health of the nation as whole.

Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, said:”We hold the work of the Forensic Laboratory Services in high regard and therefore expects nothing less than professionalism, high standards of ethics and absolute honesty. Any breach of strict protocols and procedures by officials in such a sensitive sector is regarded in a very serious light and will not be tolerated. It is unacceptable.”

The Department of Health has referred the matter to the relevant law enforcement agencies for further investigation and due to the serious nature of this transgression, the Department urges the police to move swiftly to investigate the matter so that justice can be done.

The Department has also referred the matter to the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) for further guidance as the work of the forensic laboratory services have impact on the criminal justice system.