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In recent years, South Africa has had its fair share of disasters (Afrikaans: “rampe”). So much so, that in respect of some of them, the authorities officially declared some as either national, provincial and/or municipal state of disasters.

Just to mention a few, they are -
(1) The reclassification of provincial disasters as a national disaster in respect of “the magnitude and severity of the ongoing drought occurring in at least three provinces”. Refer to Government Gazette No 41439 dated 13 February 2018. The three provinces referred to are apparently, at the time, the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape. Also refer to “Water crises in South Africa” published in Pollex in Servamus: April 2018.

This latter declaration of a national disaster - only in respect of three provinces - was followed by a declaration of a national state of disaster in respect of “the drought crisis affecting multiple provinces [in South Africa]”. Refer to Government Gazette No 43066 dated 4 March 2020.

(2) As a result of the magnitude and severity of fires and storms that affected the Western Cape during June 2017 (in the vicinity of Knysna and surrounding areas), the Premier of the Western Cape declared it a provincial state of disaster. Refer to Western Cape Provincial Notice No 47 as published in Western Cape Provincial Gazette No 7904 dated 29 March 2018.

(3) Then there is the latest declaration of a national disaster with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic (coronavirus). Refer to Government Notice No 312 dated 15 March 2020 as published in Government Gazette No 43096 of the same date - the classification of the COVID-19 pandemic as a national disaster by the Head of the National Disaster Management Centre in terms of section 23(1)(b) of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 (hereinafter referred to as the “Disaster Act”). In Government Notice No 313, also dated Sunday 15 March 2020, and also published in Government Gazette No 43096 and also dated 15 March 2020, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national state of disaster.

(4)
Note that all the authorities concerned, administered all the disasters referred to supra, in terms of the Disaster Act. This is not strange as all the disasters supra, fall squarely within the word definition of “disaster” (in Afrikaans text: “ramp”) as it appears in section 1 of the Disaster Act, namely –

Note that all the authorities concerned, administered all the disasters referred to supra, in terms of the Disaster Act. This is not strange as all the disasters supra, fall squarely within the word definition of “disaster” (in Afrikaans text: “ramp”) as it appears in section 1 of the Disaster Act, namely -

“‘disaster’ means a progressive or sudden, widespread or localised natural or human-caused occurrence which -

(a) causes or threatens to cause -

(i) death, injury or disease;

(ii) damage to property, infrastructure or the environment; or

(iii) significant disruption of the life of a community; and

(b) is of a magnitude that exceeds the ability of those affected by the disaster to cope with its effects using only their own resources”.

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[This is only an excerpt of a legal discussion published in Pollex in Servamus: May 2020. If you are interested in reading the rest of this discussion, send an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out what to do. Ed.]

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Servamus - May 2020

It was a difficult start to the 2020 school year. In Gauteng, several learners had died in various tragic accidents.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
When the news broke in January 2020 about a schoolboy who had drowned during a school orientation camp in North West, many parents were impacted by the fact that something similar could so easily happen to their own children.
By Annalise Kempen
It boggles one's mind when the innocence of a child meets the severity of a violent crime like murder.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Do you realise that bullying is a form of child abuse? It is so serious that the legislature specifically mentions it in the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 where “abuse”, in relation to a child, means any form of harm or ill-treatment deliberately inflicted on a child, and includes bullying by another child.
By Annalise Kempen

Pollex - May 2020

Read More - S V Garland 2019 (2) SACR 162 (WCC)
Mr Garland, the accused, is currently approximately 26 years old. On 24 June 2011, when he was 17 years old, he was apprehended in his mother’s residence in the town of Montagu*, for the unlawful possession of a small quantity of cannabis (dagga).
Read More - Msongelwa V Minister of Police (112/2012) [2020] ZAECMHC 10 (17 March 2020) (EMC)
The plaintiff (Afrikaans: “eiser”), Mr Nkululeko Msongelwa, was arrested on 7 August 2011 at a tavern in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, where he and his friends were enjoying themselves.
In recent years, South Africa has had its fair share of disasters (Afrikaans: “rampe”).

Letters - May 2020

My chains are gone I've been set free My God, my Saviour has ransomed me And like a flood, His mercy rains Unending love, Amazing Grace
Read More Maj-Gen Tertius Geldenhuys (7 May 1955 to 14 April 2020)
The South African Police Service mourns the tragic loss of Maj-Gen Tertius Geldenhuys who passed away on 14 April 2020.
Oom Piet Kleu, a 94-year-old former provincial road traffic inspector, invited by Daniel Seevaraj, a former police member who also became a prominent senior Pietermaritzburg road traffic inspector, graced our presence at our last meeting of retired police officers at Chistlehurst Academics and Arts.
Read More Huldeblyk - Jan Willem (Toffie) Jansen van Vuuren (6 Januarie 1952 - 18 Maart 2020)
”Dis die enigste manier om vooruit te gaan in die lewe - studeer, studeer, studeer … Studies gee vir mens kennis, en kennis is mag.”
May 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.