• Although our paths regularly cross with those of homeless people, we seldom think about them as potential vulnerable victims of serious crime. Read more about the in-depth article about how they are affected from p 44 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Although our paths regularly cross with those of homeless people, we seldom think about them as potential vulnerable victims of serious crime. Read more about the in-depth article about how they are affected from p 44 in Servamus: February 2018.

  • Ever thought about the fact that those who are falsely accused of crime are also victims? We explore the impact of these false allegations on these victims and look at the trauma of serving time when you are innocent in an article published from p 28 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Ever thought about the fact that those who are falsely accused of crime are also victims? We explore the impact of these false allegations on these victims and look at the trauma of serving time when you are innocent in an article published from p 28 in Servamus: February 2018.

  • Members of Flying Squads often arrive first at crime scenes to confront dangerous criminals. This month we pay tribute to the hardworking heroes of the Johannesburg Flying Squad and introduce their commander. Refer to the article from p 50 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Members of Flying Squads often arrive first at crime scenes to confront dangerous criminals. This month we pay tribute to the hardworking heroes of the Johannesburg Flying Squad and introduce their commander. Refer to the article from p 50 in Servamus: February 2018.

  • Many victims of crime choose not to report the incident to the police. We explore the reasons why; find out whether it is a situation unique to South Africa and look at the consequence of non-reporting of crime in an article published from p 10 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Many victims of crime choose not to report the incident to the police. We explore the reasons why; find out whether it is a situation unique to South Africa and look at the consequence of non-reporting of crime in an article published from p 10 in Servamus: February 2018.

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- The vital importance of victim impact statements in the court process
Compiled by Annalise Kempen in cooperation with Rhona van Niekerk*

In high profile cases such as that of the Modimolle monster or Oscar Pistorius, the public heard, through the media, what impact the violent crime had on the victim and their families. They heard about the psychological and physical scars which both victims and even their siblings could carry with them, potentially for the rest of their lives. However, not all victims have the opportunity or courage to verbalise every way in which crime has impacted on their lives when they stand in the witness box. This makes one wonder - is there someone/something who can “speak” on the victim’s behalf to show the court how that person’s life has changed since the crime? Fortunately, the answer is yes.

What is a victim?
The Department of Social Development issued a booklet entitled Minimum standards for service delivery in victim empowerment (Victims of crime and violence), in which the following definition is used to describe a victim: “A person who, individually or collectively suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of their rights, through acts or omissions that are violations of national criminal laws or of internationally recognised norms relating to human rights.” In this same booklet, the United Nations (UN) Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power notes that a person may be considered a victim regardless of whether the perpetrator is identified, apprehended, prosecuted or convicted and regardless of the familial relationship between the perpetrator and victim. The term “victim” can also include, where appropriate, the immediate family or dependants of the direct victim and persons who have suffered harm in intervening to assist victims in distress to preventing victimisation.

Criminologists as experts in the courtroom
The late world-renowned forensic criminologist, Dr Irma Labuschagne, brought the important contribution of criminologists to the criminal justice system to the fore in highly publicised cases such as that of Najwa Petersen, who killed her husband Taliep, and the Skierlik shooter, Johan Nel, in which she presented expert evidence. However, the introduction of criminologists in the courtroom started during the 1980s in an organised manner under the guidance of Judge Richard Goldstone and, ever since, criminologists have assisted with criminological pre-sentence reports in many criminal trials. But, a decade ago, the use of criminologists was not yet that common and Van der Hoven (2006) notes that only a small number of criminologists compiled pre-sentence reports for the courts, with an even smaller number who are full-time forensic criminologists. And yet, with the amount of serious violent crime committed in South Africa, one could argue that there is a great need for such experts to comment professionally on both factors that impacted on an accused to commit a crime and the impact of that crime on the victim.

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: February 2018. The rest of the article focuses on pre-sentencing reports and their admissibility; victim impact statements and their structure; the types of cases in which victim impact statements are typically used and how the written word (or the lack thereof) can speak very loudly. 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 - February 2018

In high profile cases such as that of the Modimolle monster or Oscar Pistorius, the public heard, through the media, what impact the violent crime had on the victim and their families.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
People sleeping on sheets of cardboard under dirty old blankets on pavements or on dark park benches are a familiar sight when driving through the suburbs late at night.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
“You were wearing a low cut, short mini dress, what did you expect?” Those are often the first words a rape victim hears when she tells someone from whom she trusted to get support, after she was raped by a friend at a party.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
If you have been the victim of a property-related crime such as a housebreaking, stay in an urban area or have relatively easy access to a police station, chances are very good that you will report it to the police.
By Annalise Kempen

Pollex - February 2018

Read More - Solidarity [Trade Union] [on behalf of Sgt Armand] Gerber v SAPS and Others (C381/17) [2017] ZALCCT 36 (11 August 2017)*
This is a judgment of the Cape Town Labour Court which began when Sgt Gerber approached the court. Sgt Gerber suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of a traumatic event in the course of his duty as a member of the SAPS.
Towards the end of 2017, various news agencies reported a story about a female university student from the Eastern Cape who mistakenly received a payment of R14 million instead of R1400 from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
Read More - S V Byleveld 2017 (1) SACR 218 (NWM)
“252A. Authority to make use of traps and undercover operations and admissibility of evidence so obtained
Read More - S V Masoanganye and Others 2015 (2) SACR 577 (NWM)
Five accused persons were convicted and sentenced by a single judge before the High Court in Mahikeng in the North West Province on charges of theft, all in respect of amounts stolen from the Guardian Fund (Afrikaans: “Voogdyfonds”).
Read More - S V Ramoba 2017 (2) SACR353 (SCA)
The accused, who was 33 years of age at the time of sentencing before the regional court in Tzaneen in Limpopo, was convicted on 12 very serious charges whereupon he and his co-accused, were each sentenced to an effective term of 52 years’ incarceration.
These Regulations appear as Government Notice No R 1138, in Government Gazette No 41203 dated 27 October 2017 (“the ‘new’ Regulations”).

Letters - February 2018

A former police member, Lt-Col Mathews Leballo, has since his retirement not forsaken the needs of vulnerable groups.
The management and staff of Evaton SAPS got to celebrate Christmas on 20 December 2017 with Christmas Carols. The event was blessed by the Provincial Head Office Chaplain Rev Mudau.
A lot of crimes have been committed in 2017 and previously and some of these offenders are regretful of committing criminal acts.
Brig N G (Natty) Govender enlisted into the South African Police with the intention of becoming a motor technician.
According to an article published in the Sunday Times at the end of 2017, the SAPS has splashed out on what are believed the most expensive bulletproof vests in the world.
February 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.