• 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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- Van Rooyen and Another V Minister of Police 2019(1) SACR 349 (NCK)

The main characters in this legal drama are the following (note that the particulars of some of them are not mentioned in the judgment per se infra, accordingly Pollex found it on the Internet):

1. First applicant: Mr M M B van Rooyen;

2. Second applicant: Mrs M E van Rooyen;

3. Col Perumal attached to the Hawks in Kimberley: The investigating officer;

4. Lt-Col Fernando Luis attached to the Hawks in Kimberley: He administered the oath in respect of Col Perumal’s affidavit, that was used in obtaining a search warrant;

5. First respondent (Afrikaans: “verweerder”): Minister of Police;

6. Second respondent: Lt-Col W Vermeulen (station not mentioned), together with eight other police officials (all named in the warrant), executed the said warrant at the premises of the Van Rooyen couple supra, situated at 6 Schoeman Street, Kuruman in the Northern Cape; and

7. Third respondent: Col N van Heerden (station not mentioned), in his capacity as a justice of the peace (Afrikaans: “vrederegter”), issued and authorised the search warrant concerned under the provisions of section 21 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”).

According to Col Perumal, a section 252A of CPA under-cover operation was launched in the Northern Cape in respect of alleged illegal online gambling.

One such operation ultimately led to the search as explained in the “introduction” supra. During the search, the police seized (Afrikaans: “beslaggelê op”) accounting records whether in electronic and hard copy; bank deposits, book slips, counterfoil, print-outs; bank withdrawal slips/counterfoil/printouts; and computers and computer equipment.

After the seizure, both Mr and Mrs Van Rooyen were arrested and appeared in court.

The Van Rooyen couple thereupon approached the High Court in Kimberley (“the High Court”) for an order setting aside the said warrant, and the return of all seized items to them.

During the hearing before the High Court, the said warrant was attacked on a number of grounds, namely -

1. Conflict of interest: It was contended on behalf of Mr and Mrs Van Rooyen that the basis on which the warrant was issued, is conflicted because Col Perumal and the commissioner of oaths who administered the oath in respect of the latter’s affidavit namely, Lt-Col Luis, are attached to the same SAPS unit.

Response by the High Court: Regarding this contention, the High Court referred to the “Regulations governing the administering of an oath or affirmation” made in terms of the Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths Act 16 of 1963, as it appears in Government Notice (GN) No R 1258 dated 21 July 1972 (as amended) and published in Government Gazette (GG) No 3619 (also) dated 21 July 1972. According to regulation 7(1) of this GN, “a commissioner of oaths shall not administer an oath or affirmation relating to a matter in which he or she has an interest”. However, according to the First Schedule of this GN, “a declaration taken by a commissioner of oaths … whose only interest therein arises out of his or her employment and in the course of his or her duty”, is exempted from the provisions of regulation 7(1) supra. According to the High Court, Col Luis is such a latter person. Consequently, this contention by the Van Rooyens failed.

Note: For a detailed discussion of GN No R 1258 supra, refer to Ask Pollex in Servamus: July 2008.

2. Jurisdictional facts: The Van Rooyens further contented that Col Van Heerden did not apply his mind to the information at his disposal when authorising the warrant.

Response by the High Court: According to the High Court, the Van Rooyens are wrong in this regard. Col Van Heerden was in possession of the affidavit made by Col Perumal. According to the information contained therein it can, according to the High Court, “hardly be suggested that there was no reasonable suspicion or that no reasonable grounds existed for the issuing of the warrant”.

Consequently, this contention by the Van Rooyens likewise failed.


[This is only an extract of the discussion of this court case that is published in Servamus: June 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.