• Do you have anger issues? Are you dealing with them or do you grab a knife, a panga or a brick to attack another person when you get angry? We ask whether there is a link between anger and crime. Refer to the article published in Servamus: July 2020 on p10 to p12.

    Do you have anger issues? Are you dealing with them or do you grab a knife, a panga or a brick to attack another person when you get angry? We ask whether there is a link between anger and crime. Refer to the article published in Servamus: July 2020 on p10 to p12.

  • Citizens are often unsure what they need to do when they are subjected to abuse or acts of brutality by police members. We provide you with valuable tips on what to do and contact details where to report such abuse. Read the article published in Servamus: July 2020 on p50 to p53.

    Citizens are often unsure what they need to do when they are subjected to abuse or acts of brutality by police members. We provide you with valuable tips on what to do and contact details where to report such abuse. Read the article published in Servamus: July 2020 on p50 to p53.

  • The members of the Investigative Psychology Section of the SAPS do much more than to “get into the mind of a criminal”. They render a vital role to assist investigating officers with any psychologically-motivated crimes.  Read more about their work in an article published in Servamus: July 2020 on p40 and p41.

    The members of the Investigative Psychology Section of the SAPS do much more than to “get into the mind of a criminal”. They render a vital role to assist investigating officers with any psychologically-motivated crimes.  Read more about their work in an article published in Servamus: July 2020 on p40 and p41.

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Imagine you are sitting behind your desk at work and the bleep of an incoming message on your cellphone draws your attention. The obscene message reads: "Nice top you're wearing, it looks good on you, but it will look better off. And by the way, I like the way your hair looks today." You look around, out of the window and down the corridor, but there is nobody. You get a feeling of sickness in your stomach because you know that it is the same person who SMSed you last night while you were preparing dinner, telling you that you look sexy wearing an apron.

By Kotie Geldenhuys

Stalking is a form of harassment whereby one person continually gives unwanted attention to another person. According to Dr Gérard Labuschagne from L&S Threat Management and the former head of the Investigative Psychology Section (IPS) of the SAPS, stalking is a repeated and persistent attempt to impose unwanted communication and/or contact on another person. This may take the form of phone calls, messages, e-mails or following the victim continuously.

The IPS regard the following behaviour as stalking:

  • a series of actions carried out with some regularity during a certain period;
  • behaviour that is directed towards a specific person or that person's relatives, acquaintances, colleagues or property;
  • characterised by unwanted contact as the victim does not welcome the attention and has made this clear to the perpetrator (verbally, in writing or through body language); and
  • disruptive, as the victim suffers physical and/or mental anguish.

Yet, it is important to note that there is no legal definition for stalking in South Africa as we do not have a crime called stalking. Victims therefore find it difficult to report stalking behaviour to the police as some of them are turned away at Community Service Centres, simply because of the fact that there is no such crime per se. And yet, despite this apparent shortcoming in the law, police regularly receive complaints from people who claim that they are being followed or persistently harassed. However, unless the stalking entails individual actions which are criminal in nature, the police are unable to provide redress. In cases where a docket is opened, it is often closed soon thereafter as investigators are unsure of how to handle stalking cases. In South Africa, little can be done to deter or punish a stalker until he or she actually causes direct harm to an individual or an individual's property. Unfortunately, it is a reality that stalking can lead to a physical attack.

Dr Labuschagne explained that one has to look at the stalker's behaviour to take it further: for example, if he scratches the victim's vehicle with a key, he commits the crime of malicious damage to property and if he physically attacks the victim, the stalker can be charged with assault. When looking at a stalker's behaviour, there will almost always be a criminal act involved. During a talk show on Power FM in 2017, Dr Labuschagne said that the problem one has when there is not a crime with a specific definition, investigators will have different ways to look at the stalker's behaviour. "So, if you look at stalking behaviour on their own, one police station might open a malicious damage of property case while another police station might open a case of crimen injuria for the same stalker. Individually taken, these cases are not typically taken very seriously by the police, as they are individually regarded as minor crimes and seemingly not much to worry about. But if we have a crime called stalking all these cases could be consolidated and considered as a pattern of behaviour."

The closest legal definition is found in the Protection from Harassment Act 17 of 2011 which came into effect in 2013 and which defines "harassment" as the "directly or indirectly engaging in conduct that the respondent knows or ought to know -

(a) causes harm or inspires the reasonable belief that harm may be caused to the complainant or a related person by unreasonably

(i) following, watching, pursuing or accosting of the complainant or a related person, or loitering outside of or near the building or place where the complainant or a related person resides, works, carries on business, studies or happens to be;

(ii) engaging in verbal, electronic or any other communication aimed at the complainant or a related person, by any means, whether or not conversation ensues; or

(iii) sending, delivering or causing the delivery of letters, telegrams, packages, facsimiles, electronic mail or other objects to the complainant or a related person or leaving them where they will be found by, given to or brought to the attention of, the complainant or a related person; or

(b) amounts to sexual harassment of the complainant or a related person;".

Although we do not have a crime called stalking, it is important for investigators to not ignore stalking as the stalker's actions can escalate into physical harm.

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[This is only an excerpt of an article published in Servamus: July 2020. The rest of the article provides feedback with regard to the possible charges against stalkers; the types of stalkers, including female stalkers; the importance of taking stalking seriously and the impact on stalking victims. If you are interested in reading the full article, send an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact our office at tel: 012 345 4660/22 to find out what to do. Ed.]

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Servamus - July 2020

Hacked to death with a panga - that was how Ed Neumeister, the 67-year-old owner of a restaurant in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal was killed in broad daylight on the first Saturday of June 2020 (Regchand, 2020).
By Annalise Kempen
Imagine you are sitting behind your desk at work and the bleep of an incoming message on your cellphone draws your attention.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
This month's crime series shows us once again how religion can be abused and used to cloak criminal acts.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
The number of women who have committed violent crime globally, is very small in relation to male perpetrators.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - July 2020

Read More - S v Davids 2019 (1) SACR 257 (WCC)
Relevant legal provision According to section 1 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, the phrase “aggravating circumstances” (in Afrikaans text: “verswarende omstandig-hede”) is defined as follows:
Read More - S v Zabathini Jonas Case No: CA & R 99/17 dated 19 July 2019 (NCK)
Mr Zabathini Jonas, the accused, was convicted in the regional court, sitting at the town of Phillipstown in the Northern Cape Province (“the trial court”), of two counts of rape, in circumstances where the provisions of section 51 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1997 (also referred to as the “Minimum Sentences Act”) applied.
Background According to recent media reports, some members of the South African Police Service (“the SAPS”) and members of the South African National Defence Force (“the Defence Force”) have, generally speaking, conducted themselves incompetently, inexpertly and unprofessionally during law enforcement operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Letters - July 2020

After 80 days of enforcing COVID-19 lockdown regulations, 14 police officials have succumbed to the coronavirus, Police Minister Bheki Cele announced during a multi-disciplinary operation in Soweto.
It is with deep regret and sad hearts that we learnt about the passing of Kelly Ann de Villiers, the wife of W/O Jerome de Villiers.
July 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.