• 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 Masuku 2019 (1) SACR 276 (GJ)

Introduction
Mr Masuku, the accused, appeared before the regional court in Johannesburg (“the trial court”) on two charges of rape in contravention of section 3 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007, read with section 51(1) and, further read with Schedule 2 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1997 (which provides for minimum sentences).

The accused, who was legally represented, pleaded not guilty to both charges. On 28 August 2015, the accused was convicted on one count of rape in respect of girl complainant “BK”, and acquitted on the other count in respect of girl complainant “SK”. BK was seven years old at the time of the rape, while SK was eight years old at the time of the incident involving her.

On 10 December 2015, the accused, who was 19 years old at the time of the incidents, was sentenced to 15 years' incarceration.

Appeal proceedings
On appeal against his conviction and sentence before a full bench of three judges of the High Court in Johannesburg (“the court of appeal”), there were two aspects in terms of the way that the trial court dealt with this matter that required comment by the court of appeal.

The first matter of concern
According to the court of appeal, the trial court allowed for the naming of BK, SK and their respective mothers.

In this regard the court of appeal in para [10] of its judgment, held that “in criminal proceedings dealing with a sexual offence against a child the court is obliged to protect the child complainant in every possible way without, of course, undermining the rights of an accused person to a fair trial. This protection must surely mean that the identity of the child should be protected, for that would serve the best interests of the child. Identifying the child compromises the future of the child and places him or her at risk of being ridiculed or pitted which diminishes the dignity of the child as well as that of his or her parents. The harm suffered by the child is unnecessary and avoidable by simply protecting the identity of the child. Thus, to avoid this unnecessary harm from ensuing it is incumbent on courts to never reveal the identity of the child”.

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[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.