• 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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- 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:

“‘Aggravating circumstances’, in relation to -

(a) (repealed)

(b) robbery or attempted robbery, means -

(i) the wielding of a firearm or any other dangerous weapon;

(ii) the infliction of grievous bodily harm; or

(iii) a threat to inflict grievous bodily harm, by the offender or an accomplice on the occasion when the offence is committed, whether before or during or after the commission of the offence.”

As a matter of interest ONLY. The now REPEALED paragraph (a) of this definition, USED TO (past tense) read as follows:

“‘Aggravating circumstances’ in relation to -

(a) any offence, whether under the common law or a statutory provision, of housebreaking or attempted housebreaking with intent to commit an offence means -

(i) the possession of a dangerous weapon; or

(ii) the commission of an assault or a threat to commit an assault, by the offender or an accomplice on the occasion when the offence is committed, whether before or during or after the commission of the offence.”

(Emphasis added.)

Again, this para (a) is repealed and is no longer in operation.

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[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.