• Plants can play a vital role in linking individuals to crime scenes: from the leaves we step on to the pollen that stick to our clothes. If you are curious about the secret language of plants and the link to crime scenes, be sure to read the article about Forensic Botany published in Servamus: September 2020.

  • Forensics is a fascinating science with a variety of subdisciplines that are used to link an individual to a crime scene. In an article published in Servamus: September 2020, we highlight some of the lesser known forensic disciplines.

  • Wildlife crime can be fought by using forensics, such as in poaching incidents where forensics is used to link seized rhino horn or ivory to a crime scene. If you want to read about the development of wildlife forensics, be sure to read the article in Servamus: September 2020.

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The current COVID-19 pandemic which has affected many and claimed the lives of so many, is still continuing to be a global threat for which there is no cure. And yet, there are many who still do not take the virus seriously.

Lt-Col Theo Sekete, the chairman of the SAPS National Marathon Association, is based at Limpopo Provincial HRD (Training). He is an active road runner who has completed 18 Comrades and 12 Two Ocean marathons, in addition to numerous half and full marathons. And yet, he too tested positive for the virus.

He gives an account of his experience:
"In June this year I was supposed to have participated in the 45 km Comrades Marathon Legends virtual race. I was well-trained and ready for this prestigious event. However, a day prior to the event, I was admitted to hospital for another illness and during the routine test, I tested positive for COVID-19. This news obviously affected me and I was concerned about my health, not knowing what consequences this deadly virus will have on me. I was treated successfully for my original diagnosis.

After three days, I was discharged and remained at home, in quarantine. I strictly followed the guidelines to ensure that I abided by the advice issued by the health authorities. I recovered without any complications and consider myself fortunate, as I am aware of the consequences in some cases that led to death of so many who contracted this virus.

My concern is that so many people have various ideologies regarding the virus. Some believe that the virus is man-made and that the statistics released by government are fictitious. Some people respond that they have never seen any person falling ill from the virus. The mentality of some is that because they are athletes, they would not be affected by virus. Sadly, this does not hold any water as many of the world's top sportspersons have also contracted this virus. It is evident the virus has no boundaries. Even high-profile individuals have become victims.

It would appear that people are not taking the advice and guidelines given by the relevant authorities seriously and as a result, the community will eventually become victims of the virus.

Through my personal experience I would like to use this medium to persuade and humbly request my colleagues and the community to take this virus seriously by complying with the advice, guidelines and precautions given regularly by the authorities."

At the time of writing this article, I am aware of several family and community members and fellow colleagues who have been affected by the virus. Sadly, four of my former colleagues, of whom three had served under my command, have passed away due to COVID-19. My deepest sympathies to the families.

Let us prevent the virus from spreading by following the guidelines and complying with the regulations.

Editor's note
On 31 July 2020, the Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele announced that 113 police members had already succumbed to this deadly virus. Our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of these members.

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Servamus - September 2020

When crimes are committed, the first thing criminals want to do is to get rid of the evidence that would link them to that crime.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
When Albert du Preez Myburgh abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered his close friend's eight-year-old daughter in May 1999, he did not realise that bugs would play a role in his conviction and sentence.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
When Sinja Robin Mabitsela and Josias Xaniseka Mkansi (also known as the Alexandra Balaclava serial rapists) started their raping spree, they did not realise that their DNA would be their downfall.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Imagine how challenging it must be for scientists to identify a victim when only skeleton remains are available… now imagine how much bigger this challenge becomes for forensic anthropologists when only burnt skeleton remains are available and they have to identify these bones.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - September 2020

In Servamus: July 2020, Pollex published a legal quiz regarding the current/recent state of disaster. Please refer to that issue for the questions.

Letters - September 2020

The current COVID-19 pandemic which has affected many and claimed the lives of so many, is still continuing to be a global threat for which there is no cure.
Const Kwayo Louw (23), a policeman from Kraaifontein, was recently commended by the Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz for his exemplary contribution towards his community in Kraaifontein.
Retired W/O Sham Singh, the first Indian Station Commander of Lenasia, celebrated his 80th birthday on 9 July 2020. A milestone birthday for anyone and it was even posted on Facebook.
September 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.