• It is impossible to understand how parents can physically abuse and neglect their own children, and yet it happens. We remind our readers about what child abuse entails in a comprehensive article published in Servamus: May 2020.

    It is impossible to understand how parents can physically abuse and neglect their own children, and yet it happens. We remind our readers about what child abuse entails in a comprehensive article published in Servamus: May 2020.

  • The Springs Monster case is probably one of the worst child abuse cases in recent years. We bring you the first part of this crime series in the May 2020 issue of Servamus. A shocking, must-read for all.

    The Springs Monster case is probably one of the worst child abuse cases in recent years. We bring you the first part of this crime series in the May 2020 issue of Servamus. A shocking, must-read for all.

  • Bullying and cyberbullying are realities for children across the world. We explain the details of both types in detail and what could be done to identify and prevent it. Be informed and read both articles in Servamus: May 2020

    Bullying and cyberbullying are realities for children across the world. We explain the details of both types in detail and what could be done to identify and prevent it. Be informed and read both articles in Servamus: May 2020

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Compiled by Annalise Kempen

South Africans often grapple with terminology in the legal and judicial space as some have differing international applications and the public tend to believe the version they see on television. Oftentimes the public simply do not have the legal knowledge to understand these terms or concepts which could eventually be to their detriment, if they find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

How to know if you are accused of an offence
Many people believe that if they are charged with an offence the police will come to their house or workplace and arrest them, that is if they are not arrested at the scene of the crime. In such a case, the accused will be kept in custody until his or her first court appearance. Alternatively, an accused will be informed of a charge through a summons or a written notice which will call upon him or her to appear in court on a specific day and time.

What do I have to know?
Legal Wise (Nd) informs us that a summons is a document which informs an accused of the charge against him or her and will order the accused to appear in court. This summons will be issued by the clerk of the court and delivered to the accused by someone who is authorised to do so, such as a police official. It has to be delivered at least 14 days before the start of the criminal trial.

A prosecutor can decide whether the summons will include the option of an admission of guilt fine (refer to p 51), which may be included in the summons only in circumstances where the prosecutor is of the opinion that a court will not grant a fine that is more than R10 000 for the relevant charge.

A summons will typically be issued in cases where the accused is not going to be arrested and if the prosecutor believes that the accused will:

  • appear in court as ordered by the summons;
  • not interfere with the police’s investigations; and/or
  • not try to influence any State witnesses that might be used in the criminal trial.

A written notice is a document informing the accused to appear in court in respect of a charge and includes an option of an admission of guilt fine. A police official will issue a written notice if he or she is of the opinion that a court will not grant a fine of more than R5000 for the relevant criminal charge. This written notice will be issued by a police official and given directly to the accused in the case of a minor offence, such as after a motorist has been stopped for exceeding the speed limit.

What do I have to do?
An accused person who has received a summons or written notice has the option to either appear in court or pay the admission of guilt fine. If the latter option is chosen, that person does not have to appear in court as long as this fine is paid before the court date at the clerk of the relevant court or the police station.

If an accused fails to appear in court on the specified date and time, a warrant of arrest (a document that authorises the arrest of the accused) will be issued by the court. If the accused does not have a reasonable excuse for failing to appear in court, such as being sick in hospital, the court will regard it as an (additional) offence and the accused can be given a fine of R300 or be sentenced to incarceration for a period of three months.

Admission of guilt fine
Imagine being arrested after having been involved in a fist fight at a bar. Not wanting to get a criminal record for assault or wanting to go to prison, the police gives you the option to pay an admission of guilt fine. If you think that paying the fine would be the end of your legal troubles, you would be mistaken.

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: April 2020 from pp 50-53. The rest of the article informs readers about admission of guilt fines, bail and expungement of criminal records as well as what you have to know and what you have to do in each case. If you are interested in reading the rest of this comprehensive article, send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to find out how. 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.