• 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..

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- Community perceptions, expectations and actions
By Annalise Kempen

Almost 200 years ago, in 1829, the world's first police force was created by Sir Robert Peel. These police members were authorised to protect the citizens of London and were financed by taxpayers. These days, in modern democracies, citizens who are taxpayers and who are therefore funding police agencies, be they national or metropolitan, expect to live in an orderly and peaceful society. In South Africa though, many taxpayers feel that they don't get enough "bang for their money" and mostly do one of two things: they either climb onto the criticism bandwagon (mostly by ranting via social media or by being armchair critics) or they roll up their sleeves and get involved in the fight against crime.

In South Africa, many citizens argue that the state is too weak to fulfil its responsibility of keeping its citizens safe. Their argument is based on our extremely high crime rates, especially when it comes to violent crimes, and people's lack of faith in government and the SAPS to effectively fight crime and create a safe country. The results of the Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS) 2016/2017 (see below) show that households' confidence in police services and courts has been gradually eroding over the years. The vast majority of households (59%), which held negative attitudes about the police, felt that the police could not recover stolen goods, while those that were disgruntled with court services said that courts were too lenient towards criminals. This has led to many individuals and organisations identifying alternative ways to safeguard themselves - mostly either by paying for private security providers; opting for mob justice or establishing variants of neighbourhood watches.

A year ago, on 6 September 2016, the South African Institute for Race Relations (IRR) and the civil rights organisation AfriForum released a report entitled "Winning the war on crime in South Africa: a new approach to community policing". At the time, Ian Cameron, the Head of Community Safety at AfriForum, noted that the Back to Basics approach to policing of (the then) Acting National Commissioner of the SAPS, Lt-Gen Khomotso Phahlane, could only succeed if it was done in conjunction with communities.

South Africa’s crime situation
There is no doubt that South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world, with 19 016 murders, at an average of 52.1 murders per day, being committed according to the SAPS's crime statistics for the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017. This indicates a 1.8% increase in murders compared to the previous report year's 18 673 murders.

Murder is one of the few crimes which can be used as a reliable benchmark with which to compare safety and security levels among different countries, since there is relative consistency in its legal definition and it is one of the most widely reported crimes, while different countries have different crime reporting rates and different levels of efficiency when it comes to crime recording. Many analysts prefer to use murder rates as stated per 100 000 of the population for comparison purposes. When murder rates per 100 000 of 2013 are compared between different countries in order to see where South Africa fits into this picture, the situation is as follows:

Honduras - 84.3 : 100 000
El Salvador - 39.8 : 100 000
South Africa - 31.9 : 100 000
United States - 3.8 : 100 000 (www.unodc.org.za)

Even though we agree that no murder can be justified and that South Africa's murder rate is far too high, there has at least been a mostly downward trend during the past 20 years, from 26 877 murders committed during the 1995/1996 report year to the lowest level happening during the 2011/2012 report year, when 15 554 murders were reported.

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[This is only an extract of an article published from p 14 in Servamus: November 2017. The rest of this article look at the Victims of Crime Survey in more details as well as the different alternatives that citizens opt for to keep them safe: private security; mob justice and neighbourhood watches. It concludes with asking whether sustainable alternatives exist to keep us safe? 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.