22 September 2017

South Africa: Health Forensic Analyst Put On Suspension

The Department of Health has put one of its forensic analysts on precautionary suspension from employment with full pay.

The department on Friday said the suspended analyst is based at the Pretoria Forensic Laboratory Services.

This following allegations that the official failed to follow strict and proper operational procedures when analysing blood samples, as detected during a routine quality inspection by senior officials.

The matter has been handed over to the Hawks, as the department believes the allegations levelled against the official are criminal and fraudulent.

The forensic laboratory provides blood alcohol analysis, toxicology (poison detection services) and food analysis. There are four forensic laboratories that provide these functions and they are in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The department said 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 a whole.

Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said: "We hold the work of the Forensic Laboratory Services 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."

Due to the serious nature of this transgression, the department has urged the police to move swiftly to investigate the matter for justice to be done.

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