• Each year we pay tribute to the heroes in blue who have paid the highest price. This year was no exception. We tell you a short story about each of these latest heroes – refer to our article published from p 32 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.

    Each year we pay tribute to the heroes in blue who have paid the highest price. This year was no exception. We tell you a short story about each of these latest heroes – refer to our article published from p 32 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.

  • The weather has caused havoc in large parts of the world in recent times – resulting a huge loss of lives. Ever thought about how you would react during a disaster? Read our article published from p 14 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.

    The weather has caused havoc in large parts of the world in recent times – resulting a huge loss of lives. Ever thought about how you would react during a disaster? Read our article published from p 14 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.

  • When a disaster strikes, the affected community is dependent on men and women who are willing to leave everything at home to search for survivors and treat the injured. Such are the men and women from Rescue SA – we tell you more about these heroes in our article published from p 22 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.

    When a disaster strikes, the affected community is dependent on men and women who are willing to leave everything at home to search for survivors and treat the injured. Such are the men and women from Rescue SA – we tell you more about these heroes in our article published from p 22 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.

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Compiled by Kotie Geldenhuys
Photos courtesy Centrum Guardian project

Whenever a disaster strikes, such as the fires that resulted in massive destruction in Knysna during June 2017, an earthquake in Italy or a tsunami in Japan, thousands of people need help. Apart from those who collect food, clothes, blankets or money for the victims, there are others who organise firefighting or search and rescue equipment and go to the disaster area.

Volunteering often plays a pivotal role in the pre-disaster risk reduction phase and post-disaster recovery efforts following disasters. The types of disasters to which volunteers respond are natural disasters which include hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, floods, tropical cyclones, wildfires, mud slides and snow storms as well as human disasters which include terrorism attacks, warfare, casualty/liability events and displacement crises (DMISA, 2016).

When disaster strikes, many people want to help. Some get into their vehicles or jump onto a plane to see how they can assist. But it is not always that easy and people who volunteer their help to disaster victims must realise that without specific training or affiliations, they can actually cause more problems in a disaster situation, specifically when the disaster locations are far away from their homes, since there is no additional food, accommodation or other services available for volunteers.

Laskey (2016) argues that community-based disaster preparedness approaches are increasingly important elements of vulnerability reduction and disaster management strategies. Volunteering, although it is strongly resisted by certain emergency services, is often very beneficial. The principle of donating time and energy for the benefit of other people in the community can be regarded as a social responsibility rather than for any financial reward. There are many definitions for volunteering, but Laskey (2016) prefers to use the following: "To choose to act in recognition of a need, with an attitude of social responsibility and without concern for monetary profit, going beyond one's basic obligations." Volunteering is generally considered an unselfish activity in which people provide services for no financial gain. But volunteerism is not only about giving; it is also known for a number of other positive and useful benefits as many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas in which they work, such as medical assistance, search and rescue operations, firefighting and mountaineering. Benefits for volunteers can include:

  • developing skills;
  • promoting goodness (social upliftment) or improving human quality of life;
  • positive benefits for community being served; and
  • making contacts for possible future employment.

National and international response to disasters
South Africa is fortunate to have people with a lot of skills who assist during disasters. Rescue South Africa, an official South African Disaster Response Team, consists of volunteer emergency response specialists from the South African public and private sector emergency and ancillary services, and is one of the NGOs organising and coordinating missions to affected areas. Their multi-disciplinary task forces include specialist rescuers, trauma doctors, paramedics, K9 search dog units, civil engineers, chemical specialists and safety specialists (www.rescue-sa.co.za). Rescue South Africa resorts under the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), a global network with more than 80 countries and organisations under the United Nations umbrella. INSARAG deals with urban search and rescue (USAR)-related issues (www.insarag.org). When Rescue South Africa goes on a mission, they are well equipped since they have their own camping equipment, food, rescue equipment, medication and doctors - this is so that they don't become a burden to the country where they render assistance (www.news24.com/southafrica/news/sa-rescue-team-heading-to-japan-20110314). (Refer to the related article about Rescue South Africa published in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.)

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[This is only an extract of an article published on pp 18-21 in Servamus: October 2017. The rest of this article looks volunteers from communities; what legislation entails; the issue of safety and liability and what it takes from volunteers to respond to disasters. Contact Servamus’s offices to request the rest of this interesting 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 - October 2017

Whenever a disaster strikes, such as the fires that resulted in massive destruction in Knysna during June 2017, an earthquake in Italy or a tsunami in Japan, thousands of people need help.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
June 2017: Knysna and its surrounding areas - devastating fires. August 2017: Houston, Texas - extreme floods.
By Annalise Kempen
On 11 March 2011 at 14:46, an 8.9-magnitude earthquake, so powerful that it shifted the earth on its axis by 10 cm, struck Japan.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
"In many countries, climate change is magnifying risks and increasing the cost of disasters, a trend seen in South Africa given the current drought, the severe weather events and flooding experienced each year."
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - October 2017

There are two recent reported cases regarding all the dos and the don'ts regarding extradition (Afrikaans: "uitlewering").
Read More - S V Sebofi 2015 (2) SACR 179 (GJ)
Mr Sebofi (the accused) was convicted on two counts of rape by the regional court in Roodepoort (the trial court), and sentenced to life incarceration.
Read More - Chala and Others v Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), KwaZulu-Natal and Another 2015 (2) SACR 283 (KZP)
The proviso (Afrikaans: “voorbehoud”) to section 93ter(1) of the Magistrates’ Court Act 32 of 1944 provides as follows:
Read More - S V Tladi and Others 2016 (1) SACR 424 (GP)
The three accused persons in this case were each convicted in the regional court (“the trial court”) on one count of kidnapping and one count of rape.
Read More - S V Masoka and Another 2015 (2) SACR 268 (ECP)
Two accused persons were standing trial before the magistrates’ court in Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape on a charge of robbery.

Letters - October 2017

Hierdie jaar het vir ons twee broers met baie nuwe uitdagings begin. Ons het in Januarie ons 50ste verjaarsdag in Namibië gaan vier en as ons gedink het dat dit die hoogtepunt was, lê daar toe ‘n baie groter uitdaging op ons pad.
Between 14 and 18 August 2017, members of Westville SAPS competed in the KZN Rock and Surf angling competition held near the Wild Coast bridge, Port Edward.
It saddens me that every year South African Police Service members continue to succumb to the brutal onslaught on their lives.
October 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.