• 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.

    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 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..

    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..

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

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).

*************************

[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 - January 2018

The late Hansie Cronjé, South Africa's former cricket captain, was a national hero until cricket's biggest match-fixing scandal destroyed him. In 2000, South Africans and cricket lovers across the world were shocked when Hansie's name was connected with being involved in match-fixing.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
A young woman struggled with her weight for years and became so ashamed of her body that she was afraid to leave her home.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
For the past couple of years South Africans have witnessed the fall of one national police commissioner after another, resulting in Pres Zuma's track record of appointing National Police Commissioners being questioned.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
It is very early on a Monday morning, 03:00 to be exact, and not much is going on at a filling station in Mankweng in Limpopo. But then, suddenly, all hell breaks loose when three vehicles pull up at the station.
By Annalise Kempen

Pollex - January 2018

Read More - unreported (CC 26/2016) [2017] Zaecpehc 53 (2 November 2017) (ECP)
The reference supra is that of the widely publicised murder trial before the Port Elizabeth High Court in which Christopher Panayiotou and Sinethemba Nemembe were convicted of the murder of the late Ms Jayde Panayiotou who was the wife of Christopher.
Read More - S V Njiva and Another 2017 (1) SACR 395 (ECM)
Section 217(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”) provides as follows: “217. Admissibility of confession by accused
Read More - National Commissioner of Police v Southern African Human Rights Litigation Centre and Another 2015 (1) SACR 255 (CC)
In 2007 in Harare, the Zimbabwe police raided the headquarters of the main opposition political party whereafter they detained and allegedly tortured (Afrikaans: "martel") 100 Zimbabwean nationals.

Letters - January 2018

W/O David Pillay retired at the end of November 2017 after having served the South African Police Service and various communities for more than four decades - a lifetime to some.
Over the years, numerous retired police members, usually gathering at the funeral of a former colleague, suggested the formation of an organisation where retired police members could meet regularly to rekindle friendships; form new friendships; and share memories of the past on a regular basis and in an organised manner
Servamus has published a great article on the Tracker SAPS Awards 2017 in the November issue of the magazine whereby all units and nominated members were covered for the absolutely brilliant work they do in partnership with Tracker.
Members of the social crime prevention office of Emanguzi SAPS have been working hard to bring awareness to the local communities in an effort to protect the most vulnerable and youngest members in our communities.
January 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.