• 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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Article by Kotie Geldenhuys; 
Photos by Kotie Geldenhuys, Frans van der Merwe and SanParks

In June 2017, two Chinese nationals were removed from an Istanbul-bound plane just before take-off at OR Tambo International Airport in Gauteng. This was after SARS customs officials discovered ten rhino horns in their luggage. Both passengers were arrested by the police. Only three days earlier, two separate seizures of illegal rhino horn at Hong Kong International Airport were also reported. In one case, a 46-year-old male passenger was arrested after he arrived on a flight from OR Tambo International. Customs agents found 2.5 kg of rhino horn wrapped in tin foil and placed inside a food package in his check-in luggage. In a separate incident on the following day, Hong Kong customs officers made a bigger bust when they seized another 10.5 kg of suspected rhino horns. They intercepted a 23-year-old male passenger who had arrived in Hong Kong from Jakarta, Indonesia. They estimated street value of that stash was just over R3.4 million. The common thread in all three cases was that Hong Kong was the ultimate destination (Bloch, 2017a and 2017b).

Although it has been completely illegal for many years, rhino horn is still present and available for sale throughout China. And it is easy to obtain - simply walk into a so-called "antiques shop" in China and ask for it - even though the trade has been outlawed since 1993. However, the rhino horn products showcased at these "antique shops" are far from unique. They are new and are likely to have been illegally trafficked from Africa to Vietnam and then into China (Crosta et al, 2017).

The Elephant Action League (EAL), a USA-based NGO which protects nature by investigating wildlife crime, exposing the criminals, traffickers and corrupt individuals behind it and helping law enforcement gather information and evidence, has initiated Operation Red Cloud, an undercover intelligence gathering and investigative operation. Operation Red Cloud was executed over a period of 11 months from August 2016 to June 2017, to target the latter part of the rhino horn supply chain in China and Vietnam.

Crosta et al (2017) argue that unprecedented consumer demand for rhino horn in China and Vietnam is creating extraordinary economic incentives for poaching and trafficking in African countries. Rhino horns can command prices as high as $60 000 p/kg, driving poaching rates higher than they have been in two decades across Africa. According to the Department of Environmental Affairs, as of 2016, poaching has increased by more than 8000% in South Africa since 2007 (1054 rhino were poached in 2016, compared to 13 in 2007). South Africa is where 79% of the African rhino population resides. On 24 July 2017, the Minister of Environ-mental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa, said that there has been a slight decrease in the number of rhino poached nationally in 2017. A total of 529 rhino have been poached since January 2017, compared to 542 in the same period for 2016, representing a decrease of 13 rhinos. With regard to the Kruger National Park (KNP), which has traditionally borne the brunt of poaching, a total of 243 rhino carcasses were found between January and the end of June 2017 - compared to 354 in the corresponding period in 2016. This represents a decrease of 34%. Emslie et al (2016) note that, for Africa as a whole, the total number of rhino poached during 2015 was the highest in two decades at 1342. Although poaching rates slightly declined in 2016 in most African range states, the crisis is not yet resolved.

Emslie et al (2016) argue that the trade is further highlighted when reviewing the quantity of horns hitting the market. According to a CITES report for CoP17, "illegal sourcing of horns from poaching, natural mortality, stockpile thefts, pseudo-hunting and private sector sales suggests that an estimated 8691 (2674 on average annually) rhino horns were obtained from October 2012 through (to) 2015". Seizures of rhino horn during this period totalled only 2111 horns, so the remaining 6580 rhino horns ultimately hit the illegal market. This is double the quantity estimated for the previous CITES reporting period and represents approximately 20 tonnes of rhino horn moving out of Africa and into illegal trade in a mere three-year time span (Emslie et al, 2016).

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[This is only an extract of an article published on pp 20-23 in Servamus: September 2017. The rest of this article looks at the human toll in poaching; the use of rhino horn; the ban and the partial lifting of the ban on trade as well as an international operation mapping the supply chain of rhino horn. 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.