• Although our paths regularly cross with those of homeless people, we seldom think about them as potential vulnerable victims of serious crime. Read more about the in-depth article about how they are affected from p 44 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Although our paths regularly cross with those of homeless people, we seldom think about them as potential vulnerable victims of serious crime. Read more about the in-depth article about how they are affected from p 44 in Servamus: February 2018.

  • Ever thought about the fact that those who are falsely accused of crime are also victims? We explore the impact of these false allegations on these victims and look at the trauma of serving time when you are innocent in an article published from p 28 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Ever thought about the fact that those who are falsely accused of crime are also victims? We explore the impact of these false allegations on these victims and look at the trauma of serving time when you are innocent in an article published from p 28 in Servamus: February 2018.

  • Members of Flying Squads often arrive first at crime scenes to confront dangerous criminals. This month we pay tribute to the hardworking heroes of the Johannesburg Flying Squad and introduce their commander. Refer to the article from p 50 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Members of Flying Squads often arrive first at crime scenes to confront dangerous criminals. This month we pay tribute to the hardworking heroes of the Johannesburg Flying Squad and introduce their commander. Refer to the article from p 50 in Servamus: February 2018.

  • Many victims of crime choose not to report the incident to the police. We explore the reasons why; find out whether it is a situation unique to South Africa and look at the consequence of non-reporting of crime in an article published from p 10 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Many victims of crime choose not to report the incident to the police. We explore the reasons why; find out whether it is a situation unique to South Africa and look at the consequence of non-reporting of crime in an article published from p 10 in Servamus: February 2018.

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By Annalise Kempen

During the first weekend of October 2017, there was a huge outcry on social media following the spreading of a video showing an incident at a supermarket in Gauteng where security officers assaulted a woman while her crying three-year-old toddler bore witness to her mother's ordeal. There is a similar outcry each time a member of the South African Police Service crosses the line, such as after the Marikana massacre; the Andries Tatane incident and the Mido Macia incident. The question is: is it only incidents that make headlines or cause a social media outcry that result in investigations from the "big guns"? Or is there a way in which we, as members of the community, can get involved when our "law enforcers" cross the line or don't deliver the service they are supposed to?

Background to oversight
Oversight of the police is not a new phenomenon and, according to the Gauteng Department of Community Safety, it can be traced back at least to 1992 when "a convocation of the governing party resolved that 'there will be no respect for institutions that enforce law and order unless the people respect the law. This they will do if the laws are just and if they participate both in their making and enforcement'" (GDCS, 2017).

Section 221 of the Interim Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 200 of 1993 provides for the establishment of community police forums in respect of police stations. Although the South African Police Service Act 68 of 1995 was promulgated after the Interim Constitution, it provides for the functions of community police forums and boards in section 22 and refers to section 221(2) of the Interim Constitution which reads as follows (and remains valid):

“(2) The functions of community police forums referred to in subsection (1) may include -

(a) the promotion of accountability of the Service to local communities and cooperation of communities with the Service;

(b) the monitoring of the effectiveness and efficiency of the Service;

(c) advising the Service regarding local policing priorities;

(d) the evaluation of the provision of visible police services, including -

(i) the provision, siting and staffing of police stations;

(ii) the reception and processing of complaints and charges;

(iii) the provision of protective services at gatherings;

(iv) the patrolling of residential and business areas; and

(v) the prosecution of offenders; and

(e) requesting enquiries into policing matters in the locality concerned.”

Section 206 of the (current) Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, provides that the institution that enforces law and order is subject to civilian oversight, and specifically provides provincial governments with a mandate to, among others:

  • monitor police conduct;
  • oversee the effectiveness and efficiency of the police service; and
  • promote good relations between the police and the community.

In line with this constitutional provision, the South African Police Service Act 68 of 1995 urges the relevant Member of the Executive Council to call on provincial commissioners of police to establish Community Police Forums (CPFs). In short, these bodies, comprising both civilians and SAPS members, are entrusted to execute key activities aimed at ensuring that people participate both in the identification of crime challenges at local level and the development of strategies to resolve these challenges. Pillar 3 of the National Crime Prevention Strategy, 1996, similarly advocates for meaningful participation of citizens in combating crime. The Civilian Secretariat for Police Act 2 of 2011 reveals the same policy consistency - section 17 of this Act advocates for, among others, the promotion of community police relations and enhancement of community safety structures within each province (GDCS, 2017).

In their publication entitled Handbook on police accountability, oversight and integrity, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC, 2011) makes it clear that "efforts to enhance police oversight and accountability must focus on three key, related priorities". Where policing has been militarised and where it tends to be undemocratic and authoritarian, efforts must be made to enhance civilian control over the police. The second priority is to increase public confidence in the police by upgrading levels of police service delivery as well as by investigating and acting in cases of police misconduct, while the last priority deals with reducing police corruption (UNODC, 2011).

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[This is only an extract of an article published on pp 10-13 in Servamus: November 2017. The rest of this article deals with the existing oversight structures and then it discusses the role of civilian oversight and give practical examples of how it can be done on station level – a must read for everyone involved in CPFs. Contact Servamus’s offices to request the rest of this interesting article by sending an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phoning (012) 345 4660/22.]

Servamus - February 2018

In high profile cases such as that of the Modimolle monster or Oscar Pistorius, the public heard, through the media, what impact the violent crime had on the victim and their families.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
People sleeping on sheets of cardboard under dirty old blankets on pavements or on dark park benches are a familiar sight when driving through the suburbs late at night.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
“You were wearing a low cut, short mini dress, what did you expect?” Those are often the first words a rape victim hears when she tells someone from whom she trusted to get support, after she was raped by a friend at a party.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
If you have been the victim of a property-related crime such as a housebreaking, stay in an urban area or have relatively easy access to a police station, chances are very good that you will report it to the police.
By Annalise Kempen

Pollex - February 2018

Read More - Solidarity [Trade Union] [on behalf of Sgt Armand] Gerber v SAPS and Others (C381/17) [2017] ZALCCT 36 (11 August 2017)*
This is a judgment of the Cape Town Labour Court which began when Sgt Gerber approached the court. Sgt Gerber suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of a traumatic event in the course of his duty as a member of the SAPS.
Towards the end of 2017, various news agencies reported a story about a female university student from the Eastern Cape who mistakenly received a payment of R14 million instead of R1400 from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
Read More - S V Byleveld 2017 (1) SACR 218 (NWM)
“252A. Authority to make use of traps and undercover operations and admissibility of evidence so obtained
Read More - S V Masoanganye and Others 2015 (2) SACR 577 (NWM)
Five accused persons were convicted and sentenced by a single judge before the High Court in Mahikeng in the North West Province on charges of theft, all in respect of amounts stolen from the Guardian Fund (Afrikaans: “Voogdyfonds”).
Read More - S V Ramoba 2017 (2) SACR353 (SCA)
The accused, who was 33 years of age at the time of sentencing before the regional court in Tzaneen in Limpopo, was convicted on 12 very serious charges whereupon he and his co-accused, were each sentenced to an effective term of 52 years’ incarceration.
These Regulations appear as Government Notice No R 1138, in Government Gazette No 41203 dated 27 October 2017 (“the ‘new’ Regulations”).

Letters - February 2018

A former police member, Lt-Col Mathews Leballo, has since his retirement not forsaken the needs of vulnerable groups.
The management and staff of Evaton SAPS got to celebrate Christmas on 20 December 2017 with Christmas Carols. The event was blessed by the Provincial Head Office Chaplain Rev Mudau.
A lot of crimes have been committed in 2017 and previously and some of these offenders are regretful of committing criminal acts.
Brig N G (Natty) Govender enlisted into the South African Police with the intention of becoming a motor technician.
According to an article published in the Sunday Times at the end of 2017, the SAPS has splashed out on what are believed the most expensive bulletproof vests in the world.
February 2018 Magazine Cover

Servamus' Mission

Servamus is a community-based safety and security magazine for both members of the community as well as safety and security practitioners with the aim of increasing knowledge and sharing information, dedicated to improving their expertise, professionalism and service delivery standards. It promotes sound crime management practices, freedom of speech, education, training, information sharing and a networking platform.