• We are increasingly paying more attention to the damaging impact that environmental crime has on the environment and ecosystems, peace, security and development. Read the article in Servamus: September 2017 from pp 10 – 13.

    We are increasingly paying more attention to the damaging impact that environmental crime has on the environment and ecosystems, peace, security and development. Read the article in Servamus: September 2017 from pp 10 – 13.

  • Ever thought about the security risks associated with the illegal dumping of medical waste on dump sites in South Africa? We tell you more about prosecution and minimising the risk of cross-contamination. Read the article in Servamus: September 2017 from pp 34-35.

    Ever thought about the security risks associated with the illegal dumping of medical waste on dump sites in South Africa? We tell you more about prosecution and minimising the risk of cross-contamination. Read the article in Servamus: September 2017 from pp 34-35.

  • Did you know that there was a link between pollution and crime? We didn’t, until we researched the topic and found that exposure to toxic substances (including lead) was higher among violent criminals. Interesting! Read the article in Servamus: September 2017 from pp 31 – 33.

    Did you know that there was a link between pollution and crime? We didn’t, until we researched the topic and found that exposure to toxic substances (including lead) was higher among violent criminals. Interesting! Read the article in Servamus: September 2017 from pp 31 – 33.

  • Following a spate of criminal incidents around the OR Tambo International Airport, the Minister of Police unveiled the integrated multi-disciplinary tactical security plan for this national key point. Read the article in Servamus: September 2017 from pp 50-51.

    Following a spate of criminal incidents around the OR Tambo International Airport, the Minister of Police unveiled the integrated multi-disciplinary tactical security plan for this national key point. Read the article in Servamus: September 2017 from pp 50-51.

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By Kotie Geldenhuys

Normal, healthy people seldom dream about death. They do not see crime scenes and dead people when they close their eyes. They do not pray night after night to have a peaceful night's rest. They do not relive moments of anxiety and fear over and over again. They do not wake up with a shock, sweating and screaming.

Law enforcement officers are not only exposed to violence; they are often themselves the victims of violence and sometimes, they also have to use violence against offenders. Law enforcement officers are expected to have considerable tolerance for living with violence and danger, but this constant exposure to violence has an impact on both their mental and physical health. It can cost some law enforcement officers dearly in terms of their careers, their marriages and even their lives.

Although almost all law enforcement officers in South Africa are exposed to violence from time to time, the focus of our article will fall on members of the SAPS and specifically those working at high risk units such as Operational Response Units at Public Order Policing, the Special Task Force, the National Intervention Unit and Tactical Response Units, Detective Services which include the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offence (FCS) Units, Vispol which includes K9 Units and the Flying Squad and Forensic Services which includes crime scene experts, the Victim Identification Unit and Investigative Psychology Unit.

Members put their lives at risk each day when leaving home due to the high levels of crime and violence which South African police members have to deal with. They never know when they will have to face a bullet fired by a criminal without warning or when they will be injured in a vehicle crash during high speed chases with criminals. Police officials are often exposed to horrific scenes when they attend to serious vehicle accidents, shooting incidents, stabbing and rape scenes, violent protest actions and many other violent crime situations. Witnessing these horrific scenes is incredibly stressful and could lead to disillusionment and feelings of depression. It comes as no surprise that police work is regarded as one of the most stressful occupations in the world.

While being exposed to the blood, gore and danger, police officials are also at risk of getting into contact with communicable diseases in their daily interactions with citizens and risk being verbally and physically assaulted. In many other countries, the police are recognised and respected for their important work and receive competitive salaries, but in South Africa this is not the case. Police officials are generally at the receiving end of the problems experienced by communities and are blamed for almost everything that is going wrong. Van der Westhuizen (2016) stresses that this lack of recognition makes police officials feel unappreciated and undervalued and feel that their work is regarded as meaningless and insignificant.

Moreover, law enforcement officers cannot simply withdraw from their work environment when they are under threat. They cannot simply turn their backs on those who have called on them for help and they need to adhere to the responsibility of maintaining law and order in society. When police members experience too much occupational stress, they can suffer from increased chronic stress, depression, heart disease, post-traumatic stress, burn-out, and alcohol and drug abuse disorders, and they might even attempt to commit suicide.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - the hidden toll
Frequent exposure to dangerous incidents and violence can lead to the development of mental health conditions including anxiety disorders such as depression, major depressive disorders (MDD), acute stress disorders (ASD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Leino et al (2011) reiterate that damage to one's psychological health can manifest itself in reduced work satisfaction or psychological morbidity, which can range from distress to more serious psychological disorders. Prolonged distress symptoms can even lead to more serious psychiatric disorders.

What is PTSD?
According to Skeffington (2016), PTSD is a serious mental health condition that may develop following potentially traumatic experiences. Symptoms include hyperarousal or hypervigilance, severe anxiety, numbing or depression, intrusive thoughts (typically flashbacks or nightmares), avoidance or withdrawal, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Most people who experience traumatic events may have temporary difficulty in adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms worsen, last for months or even years and interfere with a person's day-to-day functioning, s/he may have PTSD.

The extent of the problem
In February 2016, the acting National Commissioner of the SAPS at the time, Lt-Gen Khomotso Phahlane, made a presentation to the Police Portfolio Committee and informed the committee members that the SAPS's Component Employee Health and Wellness (EHW) received 19 097 cases involving psychiatric conditions (such as depression, stress and anxiety disorders) during the 2015/2016 financial year.

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: August 2017. The rest of this article looks at, among others, the mental health challenges faced by police members; how PTSD affects the employer and members’ personal lives and the services provided by the Employee Health and Wellness Service. Contact Servamus’s offices to request the rest of the 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 - September 2017

In June 2017, two Chinese nationals were removed from an Istanbul-bound plane just before take-off at OR Tambo International Airport in Gauteng.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Elephants are hunted for their ivory and rhinos for their horns. Pangolins, lions and leopards are killed for the muti trade.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
It is a hot, peaceful summer's day in Africa. A herd of elephants is peacefully feeding on small bushes and trees on one of the plains while the persistent and deafening drone of the cicadas pulses through the air.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
When we throw something into the garbage bin, we seldom think about its destination. All the discarded plastic bags, broken cellphones and televisions, used batteries and bulbs, glass bottles and old stoves contribute in some way to environmental pollution.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - September 2017

Read More - Director of Public Prosecutions, Western Cape v Parker 2015 (2) SACR 109 (SCA)
Step-in-Time Supermarket CC*, a registered Value-Added Tax (VAT) vendor (Afrikaans: “ondernemer”), and Mr Parker, its sole representative, were charged in the regional court in Bellville in the Cape Peninsula on a number of counts under the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962 and the Value-Added Tax Act 89 of 1991 (the VAT Act) respectively.
Read More - S V Mandlozi 2015 (2) SACR 258 (FB)
Ms Lindiwe Mandlozi, also known as Leopoldina Maconze (hereinafter referred to as the accused), was convicted before the regional court in Kroonstad in the Free State (the trial court) of contravention of section 5(b) of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992, read together with certain specified provisions thereof.
Read More - S V Mukuyu 2017 (2) SACR 27 (GJ)
Section 51(2)(a)(i) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1997 (“Act 105 of 1997”) provides as follows: “51. Discretionary minimum sentences for certain serious offences
In a publication unrelated to Servamus, Pollex recently remarked as follows as far as Act 60 of 2000 is concerned:

Letters - September 2017

Two former police officers, viz Capt Saravanan Govender and Raju Ellapen, were honoured, appreciated and recognised for the enormous contributions and life-changing experiences they imparted into the lives of thousands of Indian policemen and -women at both the Wentworth and Chatsworth Indian Police Colleges.
The SAPS does not always get a good rap so I would like to commend your members on the dealings we had with them.
The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) would like to express our gratitude to members of Ladysmith and QwaQwa SAPS for their assistance with a donkey case recently handled by the NSPCA.
On Saturday 15 July 2017, at around 19:00, I was off duty and took my family to pick up a few things from a café in Swartruggens near the N4, using my private vehicle.
I’m extremely thankful to W/O Van Graan and his two colleagues, W/O Bothma and Sgt Manus from K9 Breede River Worcester, for “saving my life” following an incident on 4 July 2017.
September 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.