• Despite heavy rains, the SAPS managed to host a successful national athletics championship in Pretoria at the end of March 2018. Read about the events and the winners in Servamus: May 2018 from pp 52-54.

    Despite heavy rains, the SAPS managed to host a successful national athletics championship in Pretoria at the end of March 2018. Read about the events and the winners in Servamus: May 2018 from pp 52-54.

  • Part 2 of our Crime Series discussing the shocking events of how Christopher Panayiotou had his lovely wife, Jayde, killed. Read about his conviction and sentence in Servamus: May 2018 from pp 34-43.

    Part 2 of our Crime Series discussing the shocking events of how Christopher Panayiotou had his lovely wife, Jayde, killed. Read about his conviction and sentence in Servamus: May 2018 from pp 34-43.

  • On 26 March 2018, the Western Cape Department of Community Safety and the City of Cape Town recognised the top Neighbourhood Watch structures in the Cape Town Metropole for their contribution to fight crime. Read the article in Servamus: May 2018 from pp 46-49.

    On 26 March 2018, the Western Cape Department of Community Safety and the City of Cape Town recognised the top Neighbourhood Watch structures in the Cape Town Metropole for their contribution to fight crime. Read the article in Servamus: May 2018 from pp 46-49.

  • Children should be taught about road safety from an early start – but parents have an equally important responsibility to ensure that the transport their children use to school is safe and registered. Read our articles in Servamus: May 2018 from pp 56-59.

    Children should be taught about road safety from an early start – but parents have an equally important responsibility to ensure that the transport their children use to school is safe and registered. Read our articles in Servamus: May 2018 from pp 56-59.

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By Kotie Geldenhuys

When a disabled 52-year-old former soldier's wife died a couple of years ago, his 26-year-old brother-in-law moved into his house to take care of him. When the young man, let's call him John, wanted to go out, he simply locked up the former soldier, let's call him Pete, in his home, sometimes for long periods of time. In May 2016, John again went out, leaving Pete alone at home. On his return to the Coldrigde home in Vryburg, John found wheelchair-bound Pete eating his own faeces. John beat Pete with a sjambok until he died. At the time of his death, Pete had both old and new wounds as a result of being beaten over a period of time. According to neighbours, John had always hit the disabled Pete with a panga, hose pipe or sjambok because he said that he did not want Pete to dirty himself with his own faeces and drink his own urine. The matter was apparently once reported to the police but they only gave John a warning and no case was opened (Tshehle, 2016). This incident paints the grim picture of the abuse many people living with a disability face regularly.

Violence against people living with a disability is disturbing and affects people all over the world, no matter their race, age or sex. They are the voiceless and invisible members of society, who are often regarded as defenceless and unable to fight back. They are vulnerable to all sorts of abuse which is exacerbated by a criminal justice system which often fails them due to a general perception that people living with a disability cannot be regarded as reliable witnesses. Sadly, perpetrators take advantage of this situation as they know that a silent victim is the "best" victim.

According to the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP), the national disability prevalence rate in South Africa is 7.5%. Disability is more prevalent among females and it increases with age. More than half (53.2%) of people older than 85 years is reported to be living with a disability. Disability includes visual difficulties, cognitive difficulties (which refers to the ability to remember/ concentrate), hearing difficulties and self-care or walking difficulties. Persons with severe disabilities experience difficulty in accessing education and employment opportunities. Some people living with a mental disability can do little or nothing for themselves and are totally dependent on the care of others. One cannot help to think about the Life Esidimeni tragedy where at least 144 people died due to negligence and starvation after the Gauteng Health Department had moved these vulnerable patients from Life Esidimeni and other facilities, to various ill-equipped unlicensed NGOs.

People living with disabilities largely remain marginalised due to stereotyping, traditional beliefs and ignorance. The World Health Organisation (WHO) (2011) estimates that 10% of the world's population consists of people living with disabilities, with the majority of these people living in developing countries. Causes of disability range from accidents and violence to natural birth defects, but in developing countries, a lack of proper health facilities, inadequate treatment and the lack of knowledge exacerbate this problem (www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/report.pdf).

Vulnerable to abuse
Grainger (2016) notes that experts conservatively estimate that people living with disabilities are at least four times more likely to be victims of abuse and crime than people living without disabilities. People living with disabilities, like other marginalised groups, are particularly vulnerable to violence and abuse in the home or in public places. Bornman (2014) adds that children and adults living with disabilities, especially those with little or no functional speech (which often accompanies mental disability) have an increased risk.

Although violence against men living with disabilities has not been studied as extensively as that of women and children living with disabilities, it has been shown to be a serious problem. Powers et al (2009) argue that in one study involving physical abuse, the male to female victim ratio was found to be 56% to 44%. This United States-based study of 345 men living with physical or intellectual disability showed that 65% of the participants reported a lifetime of abuse, while 24% reported a lifetime of sexual abuse. Men living with disabilities share many similarities with women with disabilities regarding the type of abuse and the impact thereof, although gender-role expectation discourages men from acknowledging the abuse, as a stereotypic view exists that men cannot be abused (Powers et al, 2009).

International studies have estimated that more than 70% of women living with a wide variety of disabilities have been violently assaulted at some point in their lives (Farrar, 1995). Women living with disabilities, who are experiencing gender-based violence, receive inadequate support from the relevant support systems, as well as poor access to the criminal justice system (Centre for Disability, Law and Policy and the Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit, 2012).

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: April 2018. The rest of the article looks at the types of violence experienced by people living with disabilities as well as why people living with disabilities are abused. The perpetrator, legislation and the reporting of these crimes are also under the spotlight. To enquire how to obtain the rest of the article, contact Servamus’s offices at tel: (012) 345 4660/22 or send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

Servamus -May 2018

“Ever since the incident, I’ve never felt the same and my life is not normal."
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Imagine sending your children to a school where the teachers are armed with pistols?
By Annalise Kempen
“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.” - Doug Firebaugh.
By Annalise Kempen
Social workers found Manny in the care of a Portuguese-speaking woman who was not his mother.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - May 2018

Read More - S V DW 2017 (1) SACR 336 (NCK)
The accused, Mr DW, appeared before the magistrates’ court (apparently in the town of Kakamas, near Upington), on a charge of housebreaking with intent to commit an offence unknown to the prosecutor*.
Read More - S V MM 2018 (1) SACR 18 (GP)
Section 7 of the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 (“the CJA”) provides as follows: “7. Minimum age of criminal capacity
Read More - NDPP v Mr PDP and Others 2017 (2) SACR 577 (NCK)
First, Pollex was told that only a person with a valid driving licence can be the owner of a motor vehicle, except when such person pays cash for the motor vehicle concerned.

Letters - May 2018

Lt-Col V G Naidoo, a retired police officer from Durban, received an honorary membership of the SAPS Athletics Association for his invaluable contribution to the sport over a number of years.
The Special Investigations Unit of the National Council of SPCAs has been strongly supported by the West Rand K9 Unit and has been assisted by some very dedicated and passionate police officials in their endeavours to bring the perpetrators of animal cruelty to justice.
Following the excellent investigation conducted by Capt Swanepoel, Adv Marius Stander, senior state advocate, wrote the following evaluation report in recognition of Capt Swanepoel's service and in order for him to be considered for an award.
May 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.