• 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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Article by Annalise Kempen
Photos by Sgt Belinda Kenmuir

It was a Saturday in January 1996 when nine-year-old Amber Hagerman was snatched off her bicycle in a parking lot of a shopping mall in Texas, in the United States. The only information available at the time was that a blue truck was seen leaving the scene. The question everyone asked was how they were going to find a child with such limited details. Patrol officers were "pulled off the beat" to form part of a special task team to find the missing girl - if they were not on another call, they were actively searching for the little girl. Despite the widespread media coverage which led to national attention that Amber was missing, the police could not find her. Sadly, five days after she had gone missing, a dog walker came across her body floating in a creek a few miles from the place where she had been snatched … her throat had been slit. And, to this day, Amber's case has not been solved (Barber, 2016).

In spite of the tragedy of Amber's death, something positive arose from it in the sense that a community member had phoned a local radio station on the day when Amber's body was found, asking whether broadcasters could join forces with law enforcers to get an alert out in cases where children were abducted. Later that same year, local broadcasters established a coordinated system with local law enforcement agencies which entailed that they could warn the public about a child who had been abducted and was in danger. This system was rolled out nationwide over the years and bears little Amber's name - even though it (also) stands for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. At the 20th anniversary of Amber's death, her mother said that if it hadn't been for Amber, the AMBER Alert would not have existed (Barber, 2016).

In January 2015, the AMBER Alert project received a technological boost when Facebook announced that it had partnered with the American National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children to send AMBER Alerts to the Facebook community to help find missing children. This means that an AMBER Alert containing details about a child who has been abducted would be delivered to the newsfeed of Facebook users in a targeted search area after the National Centre had issued an alert. Using Facebook to distribute information and photos about missing persons was nothing new, and in some cases, it also resulted in the safe return of that person. Yet, the AMBER Alert went one step further to bring this information to the attention of all those in the targeted area (Vacher, 2015).

AMBER Alert reaches South Africa
On 30 January 2020, the South African Police Service and Facebook officially joined forces to launch AMBER Alert in South Africa. The event was a culmination of a year-long process after Facebook had contacted the SAPS's Bureau for Missing Persons that resorts under the Detectives' Crime Investigation Service to offer the service to South Africa. During the past year, the Bureau for Missing Persons and Facebook ran various background tests to streamline the processes between the two entities before the official launch. In this regard,

Lt-Col Naas Rossouw, the Sub-Section Commander of the Bureau for Missing Persons played a vital role in liaising with Emily Vacher, Facebook's Director of Trust and Safety who is also a former FBI agent and someone who understands the law enforcement environment.

During an interview with Brig (Dr) A J Lamprecht, the Section Head of the Bureau for Missing Persons, Crime Stop and Harmful Occult-related Crimes and Lt-Col Rossouw after the launch, they explained that Facebook will only run this project with a law enforcement agency where the Bureau for Missing Persons is well-established and well-managed. This is indeed a feather in the cap of the SAPS's Bureau for Missing Persons, as South Africa is the first country on the African continent to join the programme. The AMBER initiative is successfully used in 23 other countries across the world.

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: March 2020 from pp 37-39. The rest of the article explains how the AMBER Alert works; the public’s responsibility and why partnerships are vital. 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. or contact us at tel: (012) 345 4660 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.