• The reality of prisons for many inmates is far from hoping to be rehabilitated. Instead, the reality is one of trying to protect oneself from the violence perpetrated on the inside. Read our article about the shocking reality of prison violence in the August 2017 issue of Servamus.

    The reality of prisons for many inmates is far from hoping to be rehabilitated. Instead, the reality is one of trying to protect oneself from the violence perpetrated on the inside. Read our article about the shocking reality of prison violence in the August 2017 issue of Servamus.

  • Some people seem to choose a life of violent crime. We ask whether it is due to an antisocial personality disorder or genes or whether other factors are at play. Read this interesting article in the August 2017 issue of Servamus.

    Some people seem to choose a life of violent crime. We ask whether it is due to an antisocial personality disorder or genes or whether other factors are at play. Read this interesting article in the August 2017 issue of Servamus.

  • Commercial crime is often regarded as “not so serious”. We prove the opposite in an article featured in the August 2017 issue of Servamus by giving a South African perspective to this very serious crime and the impact it has on the community and economy.

    Commercial crime is often regarded as “not so serious”. We prove the opposite in an article featured in the August 2017 issue of Servamus by giving a South African perspective to this very serious crime and the impact it has on the community and economy.

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Compiled by Kotie Geldenhuys

In his book The Choice - the Gayton McKenzie story, the controversial former gangster who eventually exposed corruption in the Grootvlei Correctional Centre, Gayton McKenzie, writes the following: “As a robber you’re always lying to yourself and saying, ‘this is my last one’. You think, I’ll invest the money, spend it frugally, but invariably once you have the money, something else comes along. Your friends describe the next job as a piece of cake … You never think this will be one too many, the one that will finally sink you, like a golf ball that’s been hit all over the course, but eventually reaches its hole. I have been arrested and faced the judge … 16 times…”

Crime is a huge problem and a nightmare for most societies in the world. It is no secret that South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world - and where there is a high crime rate, prison overcrowding is often a necessary consequence, as is the situation in our country. Many of those serving time in these overcrowded correctional facilities are reoffenders, and therefore it comes as no surprise that South Africa also suffers from one of the highest recidivism rates in the world.

Recidivism, which is the tendency to revert to crime upon release from prison, seems to be an uncontrollable phenomenon as inmates keep on reoffending, which impacts negatively on the already overcrowded correctional centres in South Africa. Recidivism has become a concern to the authorities in general, but it seems that the ways in which this problem is addressed are not a priority.

 

The extent of the problem

Makoni (2013) writes that it is estimated that 80% of criminals accommodated in South African correctional facilities are repeat offenders and a significant number of these are hardcore offenders. During a radio interview on RSG in February 2017, Prof Charl Cilliers from Unisa’s Department of Corrections, said that the figure of reoffending is around 90% and that individuals return to prison within a short period after their release. In 2010, the Minister of Correctional Services at the time, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, visited Pollsmoor where she met with 30 young girls aged between 16 and 20. The shocking finding that the Minister made was that approximately 90% of these young women were repeat offenders (www.sanews.gov.za/features/society-must-help-stop-repeat-offenders).

Although the following statistic is more than a decade old, it is interesting to see how big the problem already was in 2001, when Shabangu (2006) found that out of a total of 142 580 sentenced inmates:

  • 11 255 inmates had one previous conviction each;
  • 6229 inmates had two previous convictions each;
  • 4615 inmates had three previous convictions each;
  • 3639 inmates had four previous convictions each;
  • 2840 inmates had five previous convictions each;
  • 2471 inmates had six previous convictions each;
  • 2053 inmates had seven previous convictions each;
  • 1756 inmates had eight previous convictions each;
  • 1560 inmates had nine previous convictions each;
  • 1328 inmates had ten previous convictions each; and
  • 1066 inmates had 11 previous convictions each.

The researcher concluded by noting that four inmates had 37 previous convictions each and that three inmates had 38 previous convictions each.

 

Department of Correctional Services’ responsibility

In terms of section 36 of the Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998, the purpose of imprisonment, after having due regard to the fact that the deprivation of liberty serves the purposes of punishment, is to enable the sentenced prisoner to lead a socially responsible and crime-free life in future. This Act sets out three objectives, namely to:

  • enforce the sentences imposed by the courts;
  • detain all inmates in safe custody whilst ensuring their human dignity; and
  • promote the social responsibility and human development of all inmates and persons subject to community corrections.

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[This is only an extract of an article that was published in the April 2017 issue of Servamus. The rest of the article continues with a definition and trends of recidivism as well as some of the reasons for reoffending; the importance of teaching offenders skills and we ask whether rehabilitation is a reality. Please contact our offices at tel: (012) 345 4622/60 or send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to enquiry how to obtain the rest of the article.]

Servamus - August 2017

Asanda Baninzi and Wox Mthuthuzeli Nombewu hijacked a sergeant based at the Langebaan Airforce Base and his girlfriend, then drove them to the Mawumawu area in Nyanga.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Who will be the next National Commissioner of the SAPS? That is the question on many concerned South Africans' lips - especially those of police members, researchers and the SAPS's partners in the fight against crime.
By Annalise Kempen
Normal, healthy people seldom dream about death. They do not see crime scenes and dead people when they close their eyes.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
For a period of 11 years the serial rapist and murderer, Jimmy Maketta, terrorised communities in the Philippi area near Cape Town.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - August 2017

Read More - S v Parkins 2017 (1) SACR 235 (WCC)
Bradley Parkins (“the accused”) was convicted in the regional court sitting at Wynberg in the Cape Peninsula (“the trial court”) on the following six charges:
Read More - S v Mabitle 2017 (1) SACR 325 (NWM) and S v Monye and Another 2017 (1) SACR 329 (SCA)
In Ask Pollex in Servamus: August 2015, Pollex referred to a number of reported cases in respect of “contract killings”.
Read More In Servamus: June 2017, Pollex discussed the case of S v Hewitt 2017 (1) SACR 309 (SCA) (“the Hewitt case”). (The case involved the retired, world-renowned champion tennis player and instructor, Bob Hewitt.)
The Hewitt case was about three female complainants of whom two were raped and one was sexually assaulted (this offence was known as indecent assault at the time).
This month sees the last of our series of unlawful arrest and detention cases.

Letters - August 2017

Read More - An update (Servamus: December 2016
The telephone rings sharply in the charge office of Kliptown Police Station. The sergeant on duty looks up at the old clock hanging above the fireplace.
From 13 to 16 June 2017, members of the South African Police Service embarked on a trip to Mossel Bay for the Inter Provincial Soccer Championship, which was held at the D'Almeida sports ground.
Fathers’ Day was celebrated this year on 18 June, and I decided to run a special project under Social Crime Prevention for the fathers at Westville SAPS, with the wonderful support of some very gracious sponsors.
August 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.