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‘Zama Zama’ rape suspects saved by DNA

The 14 zama zama suspects who were charged with aggravated robbery, rape, and sexual assault that took place in Krugersdorp have had their charges dropped because there was insufficient DNA evidence to support the allegations.

Times Live, reports that, according to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the decision to drop the charges was influenced by the results of a DNA test, which showed that the accused was not the person responsible for the crime.

zama zama miner working in black and white

They were taken into custody in connection with the raping and robbing of models that occurred in July in Krugersdorp at a mine dump while a music video was being filmed there.

Were the Zama Zama behind it?

The video was being filmed. The eight models were sexually assaulted in a group, and five of them were targeted. It was believed that zama zama (illegal miners) were behind the attacks.

“After consulting with the complainants and reviewing the available evidence, it became clear that there is inadequate evidence to continue with the prosecution,” NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said.

READ MORE: Ex-cop linked to Krugersdorp gang rape

According to Mjonondwane, the court date for the case has been moved to November 1 so that additional investigation can take place.

“Investigations that are being guided by the prosecutorial office will continue in the pursuit of justice for the women who have been impacted by this heinous crime.”

charges against the suspects included rape

Who are the zama zama

The “zama zama” is a term used in South Africa to refer to illegal miners who work in abandoned or disused mines, often at great risk to their lives. These miners are typically from impoverished communities and are driven to take on this dangerous work as a means of earning a living.

The term “zama zama” comes from the Zulu language and means “those who try to get something from nothing.” The work of these illegal miners often involves digging deep tunnels and shafts in search of gold, diamonds, or other precious minerals.

How is crime lab DNA performed?

Crime lab DNA analysis involves several steps, including sample collection, DNA extraction, DNA quantification, DNA amplification, and DNA analysis.

  1. Sample collection: DNA samples are collected from the crime scene. The samples can be from various sources, including blood, semen, hair, skin cells, or other biological materials.
  2. DNA extraction: The DNA is extracted from the sample using various methods, such as organic extraction, solid phase extraction, or magnetic bead extraction.
  3. DNA quantification: The quantity and quality of the DNA extracted are measured using various techniques, such as spectrophotometry or fluorometry.
  4. DNA amplification: The DNA is amplified using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). PCR is a technique that can create millions of copies of a specific DNA sequence from a small amount of DNA.
  5. DNA analysis: The amplified DNA is analyzed using various methods, such as gel electrophoresis, capillary electrophoresis, or DNA sequencing. The DNA profiles obtained from the analysis can then be compared to known profiles in a DNA database to determine if there is a match.

The results of crime lab DNA analysis can be used to identify suspects, exonerate innocent individuals, and provide evidence in criminal trials. DNA analysis is a powerful tool in criminal investigations and has revolutionized forensic science in recent decades.

What does it mean if the results are insufficient?

Insufficient DNA means that the sample collected for DNA analysis does not contain enough DNA to generate a DNA profile that can be used for identification or comparison purposes. The amount of DNA required for analysis can vary depending on the quality and type of the sample and the sensitivity of the DNA analysis method.

There are several reasons why a sample may have insufficient DNA, including poor sample collection, degradation of the DNA, or contamination of the sample. Insufficient DNA may also be due to the presence of inhibitors that can interfere with the DNA amplification process.

dna strands under microscope

When a DNA sample is found to be insufficient, the forensic analyst may try to extract more DNA from the original sample or try a different DNA extraction method to improve the yield of DNA. If these efforts fail, the analyst may need to request additional samples or evidence from the crime scene or from the suspect to obtain a sufficient amount of DNA for analysis.

In some cases, the DNA analysis may not be possible due to the insufficient amount of DNA. However, even if DNA analysis is not possible, other forensic methods such as fingerprint analysis, ballistic analysis, or toxicology testing may still be used to provide evidence in a criminal investigation.

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