• Would you know what your job entailed if you did not have a proper job description (JD) detailing what your employer expects of you? Read about the value of job descriptions in this 2-part article published in Servamus: October and November 2020.

  • Operation O Kae Molao is a weekly crime prevention and crime combating campaign held in Gauteng. This integrated law enforcement operation targets various crimes across the province. Read more about the successes achieved in Servamus: November 2020.

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By Kotie Geldenhuys

Over the last couple of years, far too many institutions and businesses in South Africa have taken on the unmistakable stench of moral rot. Corporate giants such as VBS Mutual Bank, Bosasa and Steinhoff have traded blue chip credibility for white-collar callousness. Although there is a general perception that white-collar crime does less harm than violent crimes, it is not true. White-collar criminals are often as powerful, callous and dangerous as other violent criminals. These heartless, selfish super predators are wreaking havoc in the South African society.

The international auditing firm, PwC's biennial Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey - 7th South African edition, that was published on 3 March 2020, reported on looking at economic crime in South Africa and how it impacts the country's business landscape. The report shows that South Africa's rate of reported economic crime of 60% remains significantly higher than the global average rate of 47%. According to the report, India and China reported the highest occurrence of economic crime, also referred to as white-collar crime, with South Africa ranking third in the group of countries with the highest reported economic crime in the world (Brothwell, 2020). This report mentions that the rate of reported economic crime has dropped from 77% in 2018 to 60% in 2020 (PwC, 2020). However, according to the national crime statistics which were released by the SAPS in September 2019, commercial crime (white-collar crime) had increased to its highest level in six years. There has been a 14.4% increase with 83 823 reported cases, compared to the previous report year (SAPS, 2019). (Refer to a more detailed article about this survey published on p54 and p55.)

White-collar crime extends beyond the private sector and in South Africa, it is extremely prevalent, even on the highest levels of government. White-collar crime in government is perceived as the biggest threat to business and investment, overtaking unemployment, the infrastructure backlog and labour instability (Jooste, 2015). A serious weakness in South Africa’s investment profile is the likelihood of dishonest dealings by public servants (Roodt, 2016).

What is white-collar crime?
White-collar crime, also referred to as commercial, financial, economic and corporate crime (Budhram and Geldenhuys, 2017), can describe a wide variety of crimes, which all typically involve crimes committed through deceit and motivated by financial gain. According to INTERPOL, it ranges from basic theft or fraud committed by individuals with ill-intentions to large scale operations masterminded by organised criminals with a foot on every continent (www.interpol.int/en/Crimes/Financial crime). White-collar crime is regarded as a non-violent crime that enriches its perpetrators financially. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), these crimes are characterised by deceit, concealment or violation of trust and are not dependent on the application or threat of physical force or violence. The motivation for these crimes is to obtain or avoid losing money, property or services, or to secure a personal or business advantage (FBI, Nd).

Reportedly coined in 1939, the term “white-collar crime” is now synonymous with the full range of fraud committed by business and government professionals. White-collar crime has been associated with the educated and affluent ever since the term was first coined by sociologist Edwin Sutherland, who defined it as “crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation”. The understanding and scope of white-collar crime have evolved and include an array of different crimes that did not form part of the original concept. The range of white-collar crimes has also vastly expanded as new technology and new financial products and arrangements have inspired a host of new offences (Chen, 2020a).

Even though the general reference, also in this article, is to white-collar crime, the SAPS uses the term commercial crime which includes the criminal acts of fraud, embezzlement, theft of trust funds, corruption, forgery, uttering, moneay laundering and certain computer-related and cybercrimes, as well as statutory offences relating to finance, trade, commerce, business, corporate governance, tax, corruption, money laundering and the proceeds of crime and intellectual property, but excludes the physical misappropriation (theft) of moveable property. The SAPS also distinguishes between general, less serious commercial crime and serious commercial crime (Budhram and Geldenhuys, 2017).

In recent years, high-profile white-collar crimes include the Steinhoff and Sharemax scandals. The case involving Barry Tannenbaum, the man who has been dubbed South Africa’s Bernie Madoff for his role in orchestrating the biggest Ponzi scheme in South African history, resulted in a loss of more than R12 billion. The scheme ran between 2005 and 2009 but collapsed because Barry Tannenbaum, who moved to Sydney in 2007, was unable to pay investors. However, he claimed in 2015 that he was the victim of a conspiracy and accused lawyer Dean Rees, who fled to Switzerland, of being the real perpetrator (News24, 2015). The Krion case where more than 14 000 investors lost more than R1.5 billion between 1998 and 2002, is another example of how people enriched themselves, without caring about their victims. In June 2010, Marietjie Prinsloo, the mastermind behind this scheme; her husband, Herbert; her daughter, Maria and son-in-law, Gerrit Lemstra; her son, Willem Pelser and niece, Izabel Engelbrecht, were sentenced in the High Court in Pretoria to between 25 and five years’ incarceration on more than 200 000 charges ranging from racketeering to fraud. They appealed their sentences, but in December 2015 three Appeal Court judges said that the damage caused by the mastermind’s conduct both financially and emotionally could not be over-emphasised and that her effective sentence of 25 years’ incarceration was, despite her age, (at that stage she was already in her 60s) not unreasonable (De Lange, 2015).


[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: August 2020. The rest of the article looks at the different types of white-collar crimes; and the different organisations involved in detecting and prosecuting white-collar crimes. If you are interested in reading the comprehensive article, send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact Servamus’s office at tel: (012) 345 4660/41. Ed.]

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Servamus - November 2020

The job of a "private investigator" or PI is synonymous with images of the sexy Thomas Magnum, a former Navy seal, who drives around in a red Ferrari on the beautiful island of Hawaii, in the similarly named television series Magnum PI.
By Annalise Kempen
For many years South Africa has been experiencing considerably higher levels of crime.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Madoda Magadla, a 50-year-old man from Daveyton, who was accused of stealing a television, was executed by an angry mob who assaulted him in the yard of the family home where the television set allegedly went missing.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Crime is a global challenge that threatens safety and security within communities, and the peace and stability of the country.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - November 2020

Read More - Minister of Police and Another v Stanfield and Others (1328/2018) [2019] ZASCA 183 (2 December 2019) SCA)
Introduction Section 31 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”) provides as follows:
Read More - S v Motladile 2019 (1) SACR 415 (FB)
Intention to possess drugs Section 4(b) of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992 (hereinafter referred to as the “Drugs Act”) which is, inter alia, about the illegal possession of undesirable dependence-producing substances, does not give an emphatic or explicit indication that “intention” (dolus) is the required form of fault (mens rea) for such an offence.
Read More - S v Van Helsdingen Case No: AR 566/18 dated 17 August 2020 (KZP)
The accused was charged before the regional court, Newcastle in KZN (“the trial court”) with 1225 counts of contravening various provisions of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007 (hereinafter referred to Act 32 of 2007), and the Films and Publications Act 65 of 1996.
Read More - S v Radebe and Others 2019 (1) SACR 565 (FB)
Background On 13 June 2012, four accused persons (hereinafter referred to as “appellants”), were convicted by a single judge of the High Court in Bloemfontein (“the trial court”) of the following offences namely, count 1: housebreaking with intent to murder and murder; and count 5: public violence*.
By now it is well-known that Lt-Col Charl Kinnear (52) was shot and killed outside his house in Bishop Lavis in the Cape Peninsula on Friday 18 September 2020, just after 15:00 in what appeared to be an assassination (Afrikaans: “sluipmoord”).

Letters - November 2020

It has come as a shock to the public as well as to members of the SAPS to witness the number of senior police members who have been arrested during recent months for their alleged involvement in tender fraud.
NAME: W/O L H Zandberg STATION: Pretoria Central SAPS
November Magazine Cover

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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.