Namibian man linked to rape by DNA

A 42-year-old Namibian accused of raping a young girl was genetically linked to her rape by a DNA analysis—and there was a statistical probability of only one in 50-billion people having a similar DNA profile.

Appearing before Grahamstown High Court Judge Elna Revelas on Friday, was Alfred Kamarowa, of Shanks Farm, Steynsburg.

He has pleaded not guilty to raping the 10-year-old girl on a neighbouring farm, on August 1, last year.

The state alleges that the girl’s father had sent her to another farm to collect groceries, and the accused, who was employed as a shepherd on the farm, had accosted her near a railway bridge, and then raped her.

The court has had to fly in a Khoisan interpreter from Kimberly for the duration of the trial, as Kamarowa only understands San languages.

DNA expert Superintendent Sharlene Otto of the Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Kuils River told the court that the genetic matching of semen found on the girl’s underwear was 99,999% accurate.

“The statistical probability of a person with the same DNA genetic markers as the accused is conservatively estimated at one in 50-billion people in the black population in South Africa.

“This [DNA] similarity could only occur if the accused has an identical twin, which as far as I am aware, he does not.”

She rejected defence lawyer Jock McConnachie’s assertion that Khoisan communities were closed populations that often ‘intermarried and may have similar DNA gene pools”.

“The Khoisan communities have resided in the Northern Cape for three centuries, and though their gene pool is smaller than larger population groups, it is still different. Unless someone has been cloned, my analysis stands and the results are scientifically, and irrefutably undeniable,” Otto said.

Steynsburg Hospital’s Dr Ferdinand Mampaya told the court he had examined the girl on August 1, the same day she was allegedly raped.

“She was a very small child and was crying and very distressed when I examined her.
At the conclusion of my examination, I was of the opinion she was the victim of a sexual assault.

“I also drew a blood sample from the accused after I finished my examination of the child,” he said.

The trial continues. - Sapa

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