Remember the bomb technician’s motto: “I am a bomb technician, if you see me running, try and keep up!” – In the January 2018 issue of Servamus we share the realities faced by bomb technicians and tell you what it takes to become one.
In our Community Safety Tips of Servamus: January 2018, we deal with medicine, false advertising, quacks & our health and help you distinguish between facts and fictions in terms of medicine.
In the second part of our short series of “Putting school bullies in their place” – Legally published in Servamus: January 2018, we guide readers you step by step on how to obtain a Harassment Act protection order and the accompanying warrant of arrest..
By Kotie Geldenhuys
A Free State farmer responded to an OLX advert from someone selling animal feed. "I wanted to buy cattle feed, so I deposited the R21 000 immediately after I verified the seller's banking details," he said. When he tried to contact the person selling the feed, the phone was off. The animal feed was never delivered. "I asked the bank to reverse the transaction, but it was too late. The bank said the money was already withdrawn," he said. The farmer then used the social networking site Facebook to warn other farmers about the online scam. "After I posted the warning on Facebook, one of the suspects contacted me and started to threaten to kill me if I don't remove the Facebook post," the farmer said (Chabalala, 2015).
This scenario is an example of how thousands of South Africans are defrauded daily by fraudsters using online classified adverts. Sometimes the victims are threatened if they dare to report the scam, but there are even incidents of victims being murdered. Many people consider themselves Internet savvy, but anyone can be the victim of a scam. The hard truth is that anyone who is active online is also vulnerable to the dangers that accompany interacting on the Internet.
By Annalise Kempen
During mid-October 2017, social media was awash with the news that approximately 30 million South Africans' personal information had been hacked. The breach was revealed by Troy Hunt, an Australian security researcher and creator of the website "Have I been pwned". This website allows people to check whether their personal information has been compromised in a data breach. Once South Africans were informed about the breach, many hastily proceeded to enter their e-mail addresses on the website and got the message "Oh no - pwned!" which made them question what they could do about the fact that their personal information could potentially end up in the hands of cybercriminals.
Following this incident, the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI) (commonly referred to as the Hawks) issued a media statement noting that the Acting National Head of the DPCI, Lt-Gen Yolisa Matakata, had initiated an investigation into the alleged master deeds data breach, which exposed the personal information of millions of South Africans.
- “We need to sing a different song” - urgently!
By Annalise Kempen
Selected photos by Ihsaan Haffejee and Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp
There is no positive light in which to paint the latest crime statistics released by the Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, on 24 October 2017. Even if we look at the crime categories which indicate a decrease, the overall crime picture remains bleak and it is cause for serious concern. Also when one looks at the scenario that is written about in the National Development Plan, namely that "in 2030 people living in South Africa (will) feel safe and have no fear of crime," and "They are safe at home, at school, at work and they enjoy an active community life free of fear", one cannot help but wonder whether the government realises that we only have a bit more than ten years left to achieve this vision. It doesn't seem so ...
- A dangerous online game with one intention: To Kill
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Ben is a 14-year-old teenage boy who comes across the online game the Blue Whale. While playing this game, he has to complete one challenge after another. He accomplishes every task and keeps on moving to the subsequent levels. After 50 days of playing this game, it is time for the final and concluding challenge - the grand finale, which instructs him to commit suicide. He goes up to highest floor of the building and jumps to his death.
The name of this game, "Blue whale", was borrowed from the practice of some types of whales that beach themselves and thereby end their lives (Patchin, 2017). In a similar manner, this online game also focuses on ending the player's life.