• 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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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.

Accordingly, all you SAPS members and Defence Force members, see how many points you score by answering the following quiz.

Where the phrase “state legal authority” is used in this quiz below, it means that one must state reference to the relevant law concerned.

Quiz questions
1. According to section 200 of our Constitution, “the Defence Force must be structured and managed as a disciplined military force”. State the corresponding section in our Constitution in terms of which the SAPS must likewise be managed as a disciplined police service. (1)

2. State the relevant legal provision in terms of which a SAPS member is a peace officer (Afrikaans: “vredesbeampte”), as well as the legal provision where a Defence Force member is regarded as a peace officer (if this is in fact so). (2)

3. State briefly, with reference to legal authority, whether the following statements are true or false:

3.1 The Defence Force is, legally speaking, NOT allowed to investigate crime - irrespective of whether or not the Force is employed in cooperation with the South African Police Service.

3.2 The same, as in paragraph 3.1 supra, applies to the Military Police.

3.3 In section 20(1)(d) of the Defence Act 42 of 2002, reference is made to sections 9 and 41 of the previous, now REPEALED, Arms and Ammunition Act 75 of 1969. So what now?

3.4 In section 13(8) of the SAPS Act 68 of 1995 which is referred to in section 20(1)(a) of the Defence Act 42 of 2002, mention is made of our previous, now REPEALED, so-called interim Constitution of the RSA 200 of 1993. So what now?

3.5 Complaints against (only) members of the SAPS are to be made with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), while complaints against Defence Force members are to be made at the offices of the …. … (fill in) established in terms of the …. …Act … of … (fill in). (10)

4. Whenever a Defence Force member is, in terms of section 20(1) of the Defence Act 42 of 2002, utilised for the execution of services in cooperation with the SAPS, such Defence Force member has the same powers and duties as those imposed upon a SAPS member by virtue of certain specified legal provisions.


[This is only an extract of the discussion of this court case that is published in Servamus: July 2020. If you are interested in reading the rest of this discussion, please send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact the office at tel: (012) 345 4660. Ed.]

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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.