• 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 Tshabalala; and S V Ntuli CCT 323/18 and CCT 69/19 (11 December 2019) (CC)

On 20 September 1998 (more than 20 years ago and while common law rape was still in operation) a group of young men - the two accused persons Mr Tshabalala and Mr Ntuli, together with their co-accused - went on a rampage in the Umthambeka section of the township of Tembisa in Gauteng. The men broke into houses and caused malicious damage to property. The terror that poured out onto this community was well-orchestrated and meticulously calculated and during all this, the men raped eight women occupants. Some of the women were raped repeatedly by members of the group. The youngest victim was a 14-year-old girl. While some of the men raped the women, the others stood as look-outs.

In the weeks that followed, the members of the group were apprehended and charged and on 13 August 1999, they were brought before the High Court in Johannesburg (“the trial court”). After a lengthy trial, the trial court convicted the men involved of seven counts of housebreaking with the intention to rob, eight counts of common law rape, four counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, one count of common assault, two counts of malicious damage to property, and one count of attempted robbery. Of the eight counts of common law rape, seven were on the basis of the doctrine of common purpose (Afrikaans: “gemeenskaplike oogmerkleerstuk”). The trial court held that a common purpose must have been formed before the attacks began and that the rapes were executed pursuant to a prior agreement in furtherance of the common purpose.

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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.