Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The Department of Health has placed one of its forensic analysts on precautionary suspension and reported her allegedly criminal and fraudulent actions to the Hawks for further investigation.

It is alleged that the official, based at Pretoria Forensic Science Laboratory, failed to follow strict and proper operational procedures when analysing blood samples. The failure was 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 — in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria — and these are extremely important for the criminal justice system, the insurance system and the health of the nation as whole.

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said in a statement on Friday that the department held the work of the Forensic Science Laboratory in high regard and "therefore expect 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 has also referred the matter to the National Prosecuting Authority for further guidance as the work of the Forensic Science Laboratory affects the criminal justice system, it said in a statement Friday.

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