• 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 Annalise Kempen

When the businessman Omar Carrim was reported as missing after he had left his business in Pretoria Central on 3 August 2017, it did not take long for social media to catch onto the event and soon the hashtag #kidnappings was doing the rounds. Regular updates were given by crime activist Yusuf Abramjee and eventually, 137 days later, it was reported that the frail 76-year-old victim had been found and reunited with his family.

This event, and a few others in which businessmen had allegedly been kidnapped for ransom in South Africa, resulted in a media conference being called to raise awareness about kidnapping. Yusuf Abramjee announced at this media conference, held during January 2018, that he had written an open letter to the Minister of Police in which he asked for the SAPS to act decisively on kidnapping. The outcry about kidnappings - especially those of businessmen - made many wonder whether the police kept separate statistics for kidnapping, to determine its real extent. It was soon confirmed that the police did not, which means that there is no scientific proof of whether kidnapping incidents in South Africa are indeed rife.

At the same media conference, Mr Abramjee sketched two scenarios related to kidnapping. According to him, the first involved organised crime syndicates, possibly with international links, targeting Indian businessmen. The second involved copycat groups, including local criminals, targeting victims of different ethnical groups, ie Indian, Bangladeshi, Zimbabwean and Chinese individuals. But the question still remained of whether proof existed that specific individuals were targeted; whether the police handled all these cases with the same level of urgency; and whether the public played their part in reporting such incidents?

Is there a difference between kidnapping and abduction?
Before dealing with kidnapping and whether there should be cause for concern among South Africans, it is important to distinguish between kidnapping and abduction since the media and even some police spokespersons often use the wrong terms (indiscriminately) when describing such incidents. Although both are common law offences, investigating officers need to use the correct term when charging suspects. According to Snyman (2008), kidnapping (Afrikaans: "menseroof") is the act of "unlawfully and intentionally depriving a person of his/her freedom and movement and/or, if such person is a child, his/her custodians of their control over him/her". Snyman (2008) further explains common law abduction as follows: "A person, either male or female, commits abduction if s/he unlawfully and intentionally removes an unmarried minor, who may likewise be either male or female, from the control of his/her parents or guardian and without the consent of such parents or guardian, intending that s/he or somebody else may marry or have sexual intercourse with the minor." The Children's Act 38 of 2005 also provides for statutory abduction in sections 138 and 139 as well as in Chapter 17. (Remember that a minor is a person younger than 18.)

People are kidnapped for different reasons. Some are kidnapped for ransom by a captor who wants to benefit from the crime, ie by receiving money or forcing the authorities to release a political prisoner; some kidnappers want to make a political statement; some kidnapping incidents happen due to a family dispute or during a custody battle; while some victims are kidnapped during the perpetration of another crime, such as a hijacking, an armed robbery or human trafficking. Irrespective of the reason, the reality is that such a kidnapping victim is likely to suffer trauma whilst his/her freedom is restricted and it is the task of police hostage negotiators to bring a peaceful end to such an event as quickly as possible.

What does hostage negotiation entail?
Col Ernst Strydom, the National Hostage Negotiators Coordinator, told Servamus that the first hostage negotiation team was established in 1990 at the Institute for Behavioural Sciences by Brig Pieterse, Col Langenhoven, the late Kobus van Jaarsveld and himself. The initial need was to deal with airplane hijacking incidents, but the realisation soon dawned on them that such negotiations would not be limited to airport incidents and that such a team had to be skilled and ready to deal with all types of hostage events.

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: March 2018. The rest of the article looks at when the hostage negotiators get involved; what it takes to become a hostage negotiator; the challenges these negotiators face and we provide some important travel advice to those travelling overseas. To enquire how to obtain the rest of the article, contact Servamus’s offices at tel: (012) 345 4660 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.