• Each year we pay tribute to the heroes in blue who have paid the highest price. This year was no exception. We tell you a short story about each of these latest heroes – refer to our article published from p 32 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.

    Each year we pay tribute to the heroes in blue who have paid the highest price. This year was no exception. We tell you a short story about each of these latest heroes – refer to our article published from p 32 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.

  • The weather has caused havoc in large parts of the world in recent times – resulting a huge loss of lives. Ever thought about how you would react during a disaster? Read our article published from p 14 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.

    The weather has caused havoc in large parts of the world in recent times – resulting a huge loss of lives. Ever thought about how you would react during a disaster? Read our article published from p 14 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.

  • When a disaster strikes, the affected community is dependent on men and women who are willing to leave everything at home to search for survivors and treat the injured. Such are the men and women from Rescue SA – we tell you more about these heroes in our article published from p 22 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.

    When a disaster strikes, the affected community is dependent on men and women who are willing to leave everything at home to search for survivors and treat the injured. Such are the men and women from Rescue SA – we tell you more about these heroes in our article published from p 22 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.

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It saddens me that every year South African Police Service members continue to succumb to the brutal onslaught on their lives. On Sunday 3 September 2017, the SAPS held its annual commemoration day. The day is aimed at paying tribute to all police members who had lost their lives on the line of duty. This year's memorial commemorated the lives of members who were victims of fatalities that occurred during the 2016/2017 financial year.

The number of members who passed away stayed the same at 40 - the same number of members who were commemorated during the 2016 event - compared to 63 during the 2014/2015 financial year. The overall decline of police killings over the past two decades was confirmed by a survey that was conducted by the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR). According to this institutes' 20 year period survey that was released in June, 1970 members died in the line of duty between 1994 and 2004 while the figures dropped to 945 between 2005 and 2014.

This decline can be attributed to the societal change of perception towards men and women in blue. This has brought about a change of political dynamics and the government system of a democratic dispensation.

Historically, the darkest days were when the country was in turmoil and at bitter war with itself. During those days police members were randomly targeted for their discredited role of being whistle-blowers and great proponents of the regime of the day. They were unwelcome in their dwellings and their presence was regarded as the symbol of hostility.

One of most memorable scenes of that era is the 1985 heartless attack of an innocent man who posed no threat to anyone:

Const Solly Mandlazi of Narvis Street, Ackerville, Witbank, attended the funeral of a neighbour, unaware that his presence triggered the anger of community. He was ultimately targeted at the cemetery, hacked with a shovel, thrown into a hole and buried alive. His sole transgression was to find himself in the same space with people who no longer regarded him as one of their own because he donned the blue uniform at work. This was done without considering that his daily work was to administer the affairs of the deceased at the local police mortuary. He was never linked to any activities of the Internal Stability Unit (ISU) or security branch that were notorious for venomous human slaughter.

As a country we seem to have realised the fatal flaw of distancing policing from communities; and that was corrected by bringing police closer to the people. The changing role of the police in the new government system has made it possible to transform the perception of the community towards the police. That was supported by the progress made in building relations between the police and communities. Policing is now (supposed to be) rooted in the community and it (the community) has (mostly) accepted the police service as law enforcers rather than enemies of humanity. This is affirmed by the partnership that has been forged by both the SAPS and community structures as equal partners in the fight against crime.

Such efforts have resulted in police members no longer being killed in collective acts of hatred but rather murdered in isolated crime-related incidents. Generally, police members are killed when they respond to crime or attend to complaints. Many offenders are armed suspects of crime who resist arrest.

Then, irrespective of the significant drop of the killings, police members will remain in constant danger as long as there are armed and hostile crime suspects. This is attested through scarier ferocity that is perpetrated against police members. Criminals of this moment dither not to attack police members at their stations. Some ensue shoot-outs with the police and others ambush them on the road.

Courage of ruthless criminals was recently revealed by one of three men who, after pretending to report an incident of robbery in Lingelethu West, produced a firearm and shot a sergeant in the face. Fortunately, the sergeant escaped with his life and survived the calamity with injuries. The following day, the two lifeless bodies of constables were found in cold blood at the Koffiefontein Community Service Centre. One was shot in the head while the other was shot twice, in the back and in the head. A firearm of one of the deceased was missing. It is suspected that the duo was killed by a person or a group of people that attacked the Community Service Centre.

Many were disturbed by a rumour that was circulated on social media about the attack of Hillbrow Police Station, a few days after the Koffiefontein incident. Yet, it was a great relief to learn that the broadly circulated news was fake. Therefore, the public should desist from circulating fake and inflammatory messages.

These and all other heinous acts of criminality are not only provocative to the SAPS as law enforcement but also to the national state of the republic. Therefore, such a situation necessitates that police members are intact in their quest to create a safe and secure country. They must not be deterred in their mandate of protecting the community. Their safety should begin with them, because they cannot defend the community if they are vulnerable to criminals.

Therefore, they must act with the agility of cats and the ferocity of bulls when their lives are under siege. In early June, members of a gang of suspected ATM bombers had to digest the venom of their spleens after they shot at members of National Intervention Unit (NIU) in Hammansdale. During that dreadful episode, W/O Ndabenhle Zwane died in combat, on the beat, but eight suspects were mowed down and their names were written in blood. Police confiscated two rifles, four handguns, five explosive devices and two detonators at the scene.

Among the members who were commemorated during this year's event was Const Mthetho Sandla. He was murdered when he and his colleague were ambushed by two AK-47 wielding suspects during 2016's Youth Day. His colleague suffered injuries but survived the ambush. At the time, they were responding to an ATM bombing in Delft in the Western Cape. Another member, namely Sgt Andries Mabena, was killed just four days before Christmas Day. He was fatally shot by a suspect in a business robbery at a plastic shop in Jeppe.

It is unfortunate that many of the deceased members met their untimely deaths at young ages and subsequent low ranks. Most of them leave behind young families that need to be taken care of. Now their children are bound to face the tribulations of life in their absence. The moment of silence that has again been observed gave us all a moment to assemble their eternal memories that are vividly imprinted in our minds.

Communities are urged to unite and continue to work tirelessly towards thwarting the scourge of these senseless killings until there are no more commemoration days!

Siphiwe Mahlangu

[Servamus pays tribute to our members in blue who made the ultimate sacrifice. Refer to our related article published in Servamus: October 2017. Ed.]

Servamus - October 2017

Whenever a disaster strikes, such as the fires that resulted in massive destruction in Knysna during June 2017, an earthquake in Italy or a tsunami in Japan, thousands of people need help.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
June 2017: Knysna and its surrounding areas - devastating fires. August 2017: Houston, Texas - extreme floods.
By Annalise Kempen
On 11 March 2011 at 14:46, an 8.9-magnitude earthquake, so powerful that it shifted the earth on its axis by 10 cm, struck Japan.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
"In many countries, climate change is magnifying risks and increasing the cost of disasters, a trend seen in South Africa given the current drought, the severe weather events and flooding experienced each year."
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - October 2017

There are two recent reported cases regarding all the dos and the don'ts regarding extradition (Afrikaans: "uitlewering").
Read More - S V Sebofi 2015 (2) SACR 179 (GJ)
Mr Sebofi (the accused) was convicted on two counts of rape by the regional court in Roodepoort (the trial court), and sentenced to life incarceration.
Read More - Chala and Others v Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), KwaZulu-Natal and Another 2015 (2) SACR 283 (KZP)
The proviso (Afrikaans: “voorbehoud”) to section 93ter(1) of the Magistrates’ Court Act 32 of 1944 provides as follows:
Read More - S V Tladi and Others 2016 (1) SACR 424 (GP)
The three accused persons in this case were each convicted in the regional court (“the trial court”) on one count of kidnapping and one count of rape.
Read More - S V Masoka and Another 2015 (2) SACR 268 (ECP)
Two accused persons were standing trial before the magistrates’ court in Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape on a charge of robbery.

Letters - October 2017

Hierdie jaar het vir ons twee broers met baie nuwe uitdagings begin. Ons het in Januarie ons 50ste verjaarsdag in Namibië gaan vier en as ons gedink het dat dit die hoogtepunt was, lê daar toe ‘n baie groter uitdaging op ons pad.
Between 14 and 18 August 2017, members of Westville SAPS competed in the KZN Rock and Surf angling competition held near the Wild Coast bridge, Port Edward.
It saddens me that every year South African Police Service members continue to succumb to the brutal onslaught on their lives.
October 2017 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.