• 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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By Kotie Geldenhuys

It boggles one's mind when the innocence of a child meets the severity of a violent crime like murder. Yet, there are a number of cases in South Africa where children became brutal murderers. It included the case where learners from the Waterkloof Hoërskool, namely Reinach Tiedt, Gert van Schalkwyk, Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez, who were aged between 14 and 16 at the time, murdered a homeless man in a park in the east of Pretoria in December 2001. They later became known as the Waterkloof Four (Sosibo, 2014). Then there was the shocking incident that happened in April 2012, when 15-year-old Don Steenkamp murdered his mother, father and sister on their farm outside Griekwastad in the Northern Cape (Kwan Hoo, 2014). At the time when they committed their crimes, these murderers where minors and protected under the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008.

The Waterkloof Four and the Griekwastad cases are only two of the many cases in which children committed violent crimes. It is worrying that there has been an increase in the number of cases where children became murderers during the past year in South Africa. When the annual crime statistics were released by the SAPS in September 2019, Maj-Gen Norman Sekhukhune who heads the SAPS's Research and Statistics Component, noted that a shocking 736 of the 21 022 murders recorded by the SAPS between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019 were committed by children - younger than 18. He added that another statistic that is of concern is the number of common assaults committed by children which stood at 4196 (Makinana and Makhetha, 2019).

No respect
Reports about children stabbing one another with scissors and knives at schools or killing family members are no longer isolated incidents and it makes one wonder what is happening to our children. Do they have proper role-models or are their role-models neglecting their task to teach children about respect and care for fellow human beings? One of the possible explanations is that many children grow up in environments where violence has almost become normalised. Gareth Newham, who is the Head of the Justice and Violence Prevention programme at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) reminds us that "if children watch their mothers and family members being beaten in front of them, it creates anger in them and they lash out against whoever that might aggravate their emotions" (Makinana and Makhetha, 2019).

Zita Hansungule, a Senior Project Coordinator at the Centre for Child Law (CCL) at the University of Pretoria agrees that one of the biggest factors that contributes to children acting violently is being exposed to violence themselves. "A lot of violent behaviour in children can be attributed to what children are exposed to, their environment they grow up in. Children could be exposed to violence, gang violence, drug abuse - all of those affect how a child responds," she notes (Grobler, 2019).

Murder is such an extreme form of crime and the motivation for adult murderers may remain a mystery even after they have been convicted. Finding the motivation of what had pushed a child to commit murder can be even more difficult. Some of the reasons that have been noted among child murderers include being a victim of abuse, having a family member with a criminal record, suffering from a traumatic loss, having a history of disruptive behaviour, witnessing or experiencing violence (such as domestic violence, child abuse and gang violence) and/or being rejected or abandoned by a parent. Experiencing problems at the home can be particularly influential. If a child witnesses or experiences violence, they are likely to repeat violence in other situations (Muller, 2015). Ms Hansungule pointed out that it should not be assumed that all children who are exposed to violence will become violent themselves, but that research has shown that children who commit crime are acting out what they are being exposed to. Patrick Burton, the Executive Director at the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention (CJCP) in Cape Town, added that "different children respond differently" (Grobler, 2019). In this article we will look briefly at some of the factors that might impact children to act out violently and the justice system's response in dealing with these dangerous children.

The role of parents
Apart from the violence children are exposed to in their houses and neighbourhoods, they might also become involved in crime when they search for something they do not get at home. Parents are often so caught up in life's rat race and concerned about their individual well-being that they have little concern for their children's well-being. Financial welfare is sometimes higher on parents' agenda than their own children. Parents have a responsibility to teach children discipline as it builds balanced, strong individuals who do not easily succumb to peer pressure or bad influences. This requires from parents to be involved in their children's lives. When parents do not play their role, children may follow examples from other family members, peers and social groups (Secure Teen, 2017).

It runs in the family
There is a general perception that when a child has a parent with a history of criminal behaviour, the child is likely to follow in his or her parent's footsteps. A study conducted by Sytske Besemer, a criminological researcher at Uber in San Francisco, about the intergenerational transfer of criminal behaviour, found that children of criminal parents had a 2.4 times greater chance of becoming involved in crime than children with law-abiding parents. After the figures had been screened for other factors, such as socioeconomic status, family size, teenage parenthood, conflict with parents, level of education and child abuse, children with criminal parents still had a 1.8 times greater chance of breaking the law (NWO, 2017). Yablonsky (2000) claims that most boys who get involved in criminal activities had no positive adult role-models, as their fathers, older brothers and uncles have been involved in drugs and gangs and were in and out of correctional facilities.

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[This is only an excerpt of an article published in Servamus: May 2020. The rest of the article looks into anti-social personality disorder; when the victim becomes the perpetrator; the role of violent entertainment; criminal capacity; and options to deal with young offenders. 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. 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.