• 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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By Kotie Geldenhuys

It is early in the morning and the residents of a small town wake up to the smell of smoke and the chanting of protesters. Upon trying to go to work, residents find their roads barricaded, shops looted and a school almost burnt down. Smoke fills the air and flashing blue lights indicate that the police are at hand to keep a close eye on the protesters and, if necessary, to keep them under control with water cannons and tear smoke. Some residents join the protest march, others simply turn around and phone the office to tell them they can’t get to work.

Protest actions have formed part of the South African landscape for many years, and are, in essence, not bad since they give people an opportunity to express their problems and concerns. Mass demonstrations act as a potent weapon in the hands of people who, as individuals, have little power and are seldom listened to by those in power. It is exactly because such protests cause inconvenience and disruption and sometimes limit the rights of others, that they are noticed and may have an impact.

In recent years we’ve seen various forms of protests ranging from labour; pre-election; service delivery; land; #PravinMustStay; #FeesMustFall; #ZumaMustFall to anti-racism protests. The vast majority of these protests were peaceful, but when they turn violent, the problems start. Mulaudzi and Lancaster (2017) argue that protests rarely start out violent, but escalate into being violent as people's frustrations increase when formal ways of registering problems, such as by writing letters, or trying to meet public representatives or State officials, fail.

Public violence is defined as “the unlawful and intentional performance by a number of persons of an act or acts which assumes serious proportions and are intended to disturb public peace and order by violent means, or to infringe the rights of another” (www.saps.gov.za/faqdetail.php?fid=9).

Duncan (2016) argues that disruptive and violent protests have often been conflated. However, there is a distinction between disruptive protests which involve breaching established “order”, including peacefully, while violent protests involve attacks on people or appreciable damage to property.

Recent violent protests in Eldorado Park, Ennerdale and surrounding areas in the south of Johannesburg as well as in Coligny in the North West province have made headlines. It almost seems as if violent public unrest will occupy a permanent spot in our news. But why do we experience so much violence? During an Institute for Security Studies (ISS) seminar about violent protests which was held on 15 June 2016 in Pretoria, Tsholofelo Sesanga from the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) argued that violence is regarded by many South Africans as a normal way to deal with conflict. Violence is understood as a language that allows people who feel that they are not being heard, to express themselves and make themselves heard. “If we are violent, we will be better recognised. Through the language called violence communities communicate their grievances to government and other role-players,” she said. In other words, public protests give a voice to the poor, but sadly it often results in considerable loss which makes the poor suffer even more.

 

The right to protest

Section 17 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 gives people the right to protest, demonstrate or strike in public, how-ever it makes it clear that this right must not infringe on the rights of others. The Regulation of Gatherings Act 205 of 1993 provides the legal framework for this right and states that “every person has the right to assemble with other persons and to express his/her views on any matter freely in public and to enjoy the protection of the State while doing so”. Act 205 of 1993 allows protests to be prohibited if they cause serious disruption. Even then, the Act states that municipalities and the police must consult with protesters before dispersing them.

Act 205 of 1993 requires from organisers to give notice of a gathering to the responsible officer not later than seven days before the date of the gathering. This officer is then required to negotiate in good faith with organisers in order to try and ensure that the intended gathering will not cause unnecessary disruptions to traffic and access to work. The officer can impose reasonable conditions on a gathering to ensure that it remains peaceful and to prevent unnecessary disruption. However, in terms of section 5 of Act 205 of 1993, a gathering can only be prohibited “when credible information on oath is brought to the attention of a responsible officer that there is a threat that a proposed gathering will result in serious disruption of vehicular or pedestrian traffic, injury to participants in the gathering or other persons, or extensive damage to property and that the SAPS and the traffic officers in question will not be able to contain this threat” (De Vos, 2016).

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: July 2017. The rest of this article looks at, among others, different types of protests; the extent of the problem; and charges brought against protesters. 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 - 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.