• Remember the bomb technician’s motto: “I am a bomb technician, if you see me running, try and keep up!” – In the January 2018 issue of Servamus we share the realities faced by bomb technicians and tell you what it takes to become one.

    Remember the bomb technician’s motto: “I am a bomb technician, if you see me running, try and keep up!” – In the January 2018 issue of Servamus we share the realities faced by bomb technicians and tell you what it takes to become one.

  • In our Community Safety Tips of Servamus: January 2018, we deal with medicine, false advertising, quacks & our health and help you distinguish between facts and fictions in terms of medicine.

    In our Community Safety Tips of Servamus: January 2018, we deal with medicine, false advertising, quacks & our health and help you distinguish between facts and fictions in terms of medicine.

  • In the second part of our short series of “Putting school bullies in their place” – Legally published in Servamus: January 2018, we guide readers you step by step on how to obtain a Harassment Act protection order and the accompanying warrant of arrest..

    In the second part of our short series of “Putting school bullies in their place” – Legally published in Servamus: January 2018, we guide readers you step by step on how to obtain a Harassment Act protection order and the accompanying warrant of arrest..

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- Dealing with explosives

By Annalise Kempen
Photos provided by Brig Pillay

It is very early on a Monday morning, 03:00 to be exact, and not much is going on at a filling station in Mankweng in Limpopo. But then, suddenly, all hell breaks loose when three vehicles pull up at the station. A group of armed robbers attack the petrol attendants, forcing them to fill up the vehicles with fuel. The robbers then storm into the shop, steal cigarettes and other items ... and then take the bold step of blowing up the ATM and the drop safe. The robbers flee the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash, leaving behind the shocked staff members.

A few months later, on 4 October 2017, a cash-in-transit (CIT) vehicle is blown up by robbers using "way too much" explosives during a CIT heist in the North West. The statement of the excessive use of explosives came from Wahl Bartmann, the CEO of Fidelity Security, whose vehicle and security officers were targeted (Gous, 2017).

Sadly, these types of incidents are not rare occurrences in South Africa and, according to the SAPS's crime statistics for 2016/2017, CIT robberies have increased in frequency by 10.9%. It is common knowledge that the highly organised criminals who perpetrate these crimes often use explosives as part of their modus operandi to get to the money and that these criminals don't care where they blow up the vehicle, since some of these heists, and subsequent blasts, have taken place on busy highways. ATM bombings and the bombing of drop safes are also not uncommon throughout South Africa.

But then one wonders: where do these criminals get these explosives, since the use of explosives is highly regulated? Servamus knocked on the door of the SAPS's Explosives Section to learn more about its mandate and responsibilities and to get answers as to who is allowed to use explosives. Col Pascal Maswanganyi, the Section Commander of Bomb Disposal Management, shared valuable information about this Section's important task.

The Explosives Section
The Explosives Section consists of three sections, namely Bomb Disposal Management, Explosives Control and Explosives Auditing and Disposal. Brig Mark Pillay is the Section Head and also the Chief Inspector of Explosives (CIE). The office of the CIE regulates all matters associated with explosives control in South African within the private and public domain.

  • This Section’s work is prescribed by various statutes which include:
  • the Explosives Act 26 of 1956 and its regulations (which are being revised);
  • the Tear-Gas Act 16 of 1964;
  • section 4 of the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000, relating to deactivated and dummy models of explosives, explosive devices, explosives and accessories for explosives;
  • the Hazardous Substances Act 15 of 1973 - which deals with radioactive substances;
  • the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Act 87 of 1993; and
  • the Protection of the Constitutional Democracy against terrorist and related activities Act 33 of 2004.

The legal policy and framework of the Explosives Section is further contained in the relevant sections of the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996; the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993; international instruments; and existing policies and procedures of the South African Police Service.

The objective of the Explosives Section includes the management and maintenance of an efficient bomb disposal capability in the SAPS as a service to communities on a national basis. In addition, this Section is responsible for the inspection of all explosives and ammunition owned and used by the South African Police Service; the investigation of all explosives-related crime scenes; and the handling of crime-related incidents where hazardous chemicals and radioactive materials are involved.

This responsibility rests on the shoulders of more than 230 bomb technicians who work across all major cities. In their line of work they also use 21 remote operating vehicles (ROVs) to investigate and attend to suspicious parcels - these ROVs have been distributed to all nine provinces.

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: January 2018. The rest of this article asks what it takes to be a bomb technician and what those who want to join this section need to do. We also discuss the importance of continuous training and the responsibilities and activities of the Explosives Section. Lastly, we give tips on what to do during a bomb threat. To enquire how to obtain the complete 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 - January 2018

The late Hansie Cronjé, South Africa's former cricket captain, was a national hero until cricket's biggest match-fixing scandal destroyed him. In 2000, South Africans and cricket lovers across the world were shocked when Hansie's name was connected with being involved in match-fixing.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
A young woman struggled with her weight for years and became so ashamed of her body that she was afraid to leave her home.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
For the past couple of years South Africans have witnessed the fall of one national police commissioner after another, resulting in Pres Zuma's track record of appointing National Police Commissioners being questioned.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
It is very early on a Monday morning, 03:00 to be exact, and not much is going on at a filling station in Mankweng in Limpopo. But then, suddenly, all hell breaks loose when three vehicles pull up at the station.
By Annalise Kempen

Pollex - January 2018

Read More - unreported (CC 26/2016) [2017] Zaecpehc 53 (2 November 2017) (ECP)
The reference supra is that of the widely publicised murder trial before the Port Elizabeth High Court in which Christopher Panayiotou and Sinethemba Nemembe were convicted of the murder of the late Ms Jayde Panayiotou who was the wife of Christopher.
Read More - S V Njiva and Another 2017 (1) SACR 395 (ECM)
Section 217(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”) provides as follows: “217. Admissibility of confession by accused
Read More - National Commissioner of Police v Southern African Human Rights Litigation Centre and Another 2015 (1) SACR 255 (CC)
In 2007 in Harare, the Zimbabwe police raided the headquarters of the main opposition political party whereafter they detained and allegedly tortured (Afrikaans: "martel") 100 Zimbabwean nationals.

Letters - January 2018

W/O David Pillay retired at the end of November 2017 after having served the South African Police Service and various communities for more than four decades - a lifetime to some.
Over the years, numerous retired police members, usually gathering at the funeral of a former colleague, suggested the formation of an organisation where retired police members could meet regularly to rekindle friendships; form new friendships; and share memories of the past on a regular basis and in an organised manner
Servamus has published a great article on the Tracker SAPS Awards 2017 in the November issue of the magazine whereby all units and nominated members were covered for the absolutely brilliant work they do in partnership with Tracker.
Members of the social crime prevention office of Emanguzi SAPS have been working hard to bring awareness to the local communities in an effort to protect the most vulnerable and youngest members in our communities.
January 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.