• 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
All stock photos are posed

Something is very wrong in South Africa. Why are we experiencing so much violence? Our court rolls are shocking - with accused standing trial for the rape and murder of children; youngsters standing trial for murdering their parents; men being accused for murdering their wives; and armed robberies turning to murder - the list is never ending.

While the majority of South Africans are law-abiding citizens, many South Africans have little respect for the law. The general attitude of South Africans towards the law is demonstrated by the large number of people who are driving without wearing seat belts; driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; using their cellphones while driving or ignoring red traffic lights. And to add fuel to fire, people in positions of authority who abuse their power and blatantly ignore the law set no example for others to encourage respect for the law. Gould (2014) argues that, as long as those holding political office appear to act with impunity, or cynically manipulate the criminal justice system to dodge very serious allegations of the abuse of power and state resources, we cannot reasonably expect other South African citizens to respect the law.

Although our legislation has substantially changed for the better and our Constitution protects the rights of all South Africans by having established the principle that we all must be treated equally before the law, this has been very difficult to achieve in practice. Those with money find it easier to pay for good lawyers, to drive to court, or to visit a psychologist to help them deal with trauma or stress. Even a middle-class victim of crime will not have too much trouble getting to a police station to report a case and getting follow-ups to ensure that the case receives attention and makes its way through the criminal justice system. These privileges, however, are not available to thousands of victims of violent crime each year (Gould, 2014).

When we think about violent crimes, murder, rape, physical assault and armed robberies typically come to mind. However, after attending the 1st National Conference on Violence in August 2016, it became clear to us that the term “violence” encompasses much more and that we, as citizens of South Africa, have been exposed to almost all types of violence. Nancy Hornsby from the Violence, Injury and Peace Research Unit at the South African Medical Research Council said during the conference that, worldwide, more than 1.4 million people die annually as a result of violence. There are many forms of violence and in this article we are going to mention some of its forms briefly. However, since some forms of violence are closely related, overlapping will occur, such as domestic violence and intimate partner violence, while gang violence is linked to school violence and prison violence.

South Africa's shockingly high murder rate is confirmed in the 2015/2016 statistics where the 18 673 murders showed a 4.9% increase from the previous report year. This means that, on average, more than 50 people are murdered in South Africa, each day. During the release of the 2015/2016 crime statistics, Mr Nathi Nhleko, the Minister of Police at that time, blamed the sharp increase on domestic violence and alcohol abuse. This link is not uncommon since many perpetrators of violent crime use some form of drugs or alcohol.

In recent weeks, a disturbing number of rapes and other sexual offences have been reported, which confirms that rape is prevalent in South Africa. During the 2015/2016 financial year, 42 596 rapes were reported, in addition to 164 958 cases of common assault and 182 933 cases of assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.

 

Armed robbery

Violence is part and parcel of the category of aggravated robbery, which can include street robbery, house robbery, business robbery, carjacking and cash-in-transit heists. Crimes that are often committed alongside armed robbery include murder, assault, rape, etc. During the 1st National Conference on Violence, Prof Brett Bowman from the Department of Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand said that armed robbery is one of the top three most feared crimes in the country.

 

Children and violence

In South Africa, children are exposed to various risks resulting in neurological damage in early life, which includes the high prevalence of foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) disorders. According to the Foundation of Alcohol Related Research (FARR), three million people in South Africa are affected by FAS. One example of how FAS contributed to the violence perpetrated by children is an incident that happened in Klawer, where eight-year-old Wilfred Kriel was hacked to death by two classmates, respectively aged seven and 12 at the time. One of them was suffering from FAS (for more, see the article about this case published in Servamus: February 2011).

Children are also exposed to domestic violence, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, as well as neglect and exploitation, often in their homes where they are supposed to feel nurtured and safe. Recently, a car salesman from Boksburg, who faced more than 800 charges which included child rape, exploitation, sexual assault and child pornography, was sentenced to a total of 970 years' incarceration. Among his victims was his girlfriend's four-year-old daughter, whom he sexually abused and raped. This rapist stayed with her mother and she looked up to him as a father figure (for more, see the article about this case published in Servamus: May 2017).

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: July 2017. The rest of this article discusses more types of violence including different forms of school violence; gender-based and domestic violence; violence against the elderly and violence against animals. 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.