• In what ways did the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic impact on the illegal drug trade? We explore how traders changed their modi operandi in an article published from p14 in Servamus: June 2022.

  • Dogs are known for their excellent sense of smell. Read our article published from p30 in Servamus: June 2022 about how a South African company has trained dogs to also detect COVID-19.

  • The floods of April 2022 caused havoc and death in KwaZulu-Natal. Fortunately, hundreds of search and rescue specialists used their skills to help search for those who were in need. Refer to an article published from p36 in Servamus: June 2022.

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By Kotie Geldenhuys
Selected photos by Ashraf Hendricks/ GroundUp

One recent criminal case against officials of the police that rocked the boat was the murder of 16-year-old Nathaniel Julies, in Eldorado Park on 26 August 2020 - the teenager had Down's syndrome. Within a week after the incident, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) arrested three police officials and charged them with murder, accessory to murder and defeating the ends of justice. The case is still on trial. This case raised questions such as why some police officials are so brutal and how many children are victims of police brutality?

It is a sad reality that the SAPS is regarded as one of the most brutal police organisations in the democratic world (Stuurman, 2020). The Guardian, in a feature entitled “The Counted”, keeps track of the number of people killed by police action in the USA, where it states that “US police kill more in days than other countries do in years”. It claimed that in the first 24 days of 2015, US police shot dead 59 people, whereas police in the United Kingdom and Wales shot dead 54 people in the last 24 years. At the time however, The Guardian admitted that it was not easy to get accurate annual data on how many people were killed due to police action in the USA, but the official count is approximately 930 people per year. This figure however excludes people killed by local law enforcement agencies and therefore the actual number can be approximately 1240. Using this data, GroundUp, a South African-based not-for-profit news agency, compared USA and South African police lethality, by using data of the 2013/2014 financial year from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) (GroundUp, 2015). (IPID is an independent organisation established in terms of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Act 1 of 2011 (Cano, 2021).) According to IPID, a total of 409 people were killed by police action during 2013. This figure excludes people who died in police custody. GroundUp argues that if an average of 1242 police fatalities occurred annually in the USA and one takes into account that the USA’s population is six times larger than South Africa’s, the SAPS can be regarded as twice as lethal as their USA counterparts (GroundUp, 2015).

According to Viewfinder’s Police Accountability Tracker dashboard, which is an interface to the IPID database, 47 984 complaints were registered against the police between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2020. Of these, 3198 related to murder and 1923 were as a result of death in custody (Viewfinder, 2020). According to IPID, there were 436 deaths as a result of police action during the 2017/2018 reporting year, compared to 393 deaths as a result of police action during the 2018/2019 reporting year (IPID, 2019). During the 2018/2019 financial year, a total of 5829 cases (IPID, 2019) were recorded against the police (SAPS and Metro Police Department), which include 108 corruption and 214 death in police custody cases. During the 2019/2020 financial year a total of 5640 cases were recorded against the police, which included 84 corruption and 237 death in police custody cases (IPID, 2020). However, not all the complaints on IPID's database can be assumed to be abuses of power as police officials have dangerous jobs and when they use force, they mostly do so legally. But there is no doubt that a number of these cases are real police brutality, despite the claim of the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, in June 2020 when he declared: “In South Africa there is no police brutality… In South Africa there are no cover-ups. There is no link between what happened to George Floyd and here, because it is racial violence by police there and in South Africa it is not racial violence” (Matiwane, 2020). Yet, the 2020/2021 Annual Report of IPID paints a different picture than what the Minister of Police implied in June 2020, as 4228 cases relating to assault and an additional 256 cases of torture were registered with IPID (IPID, 2021).

The role of politics in police brutality
In South Africa, the history of police brutality and human rights abuses in the country can be traced back to its legacy of apartheid and although one would have hoped that police brutality would be wiped out at the dawn of democracy, sadly it survived. According to police officials, there were improvements in policing during the first five years of democracy. There was a clear focus on community policing, community relations, demilitarisation and human rights training. But then in 2000 everything changed: the training period of new recruits went from two years to only one year and corruption became part of the recruitment process (Egwu, 2021).


[This is an extract of an article published in Servamus: April 2022. If you are interested in reading the rest of the article that discusses when children are some of the victims of police brutality; the impact of police brutality on the community; how violent police officials are dealt with and what can be done to reduce police brutality, send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out what you need to do. Ed.]

Servamus - June 2022

According to the World Drug Report for 2021, as released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), drug use resulted in the deaths of almost half a million people in 2019 (UNODC, 2021).
By Kotie Geldenhuys
In December 2011, 38-year-old Janice Bronwyn Linden from Durban was executed in China.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
WhatsApp and Telegram have become popular tools to send messages quickly and at almost no cost.
By Annalise Kempen
We all know someone who has been struggling with an addiction - ranging from prescription medication to illegal drugs, alcohol to gambling or even shopping.
Compiled by Annalise Kempen

Pollex - June 2022

Section 304(4) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”) provides as follows:
Read More - S v Essop (Case no 432/2020) [2021] ZASCA 66 (1 June 2021) (SCA)
Mr Aadiel Essop, the accused, pleaded guilty before the regional court (“the trial court”) on 45 counts of contravening section 24B(1)(a) of the Films and Publications Act 65 of 1996 (hereinafter referred to as the “Publications Act”), as well as one count of common law kidnapping (Afrikaans: “gemenereg menseroof”).
Read More - Minister of Justice (First Appellant) and Minister of Police (Second Appellant) v Masia 2021 (2) SACR 425 (GP)
Picture the following: On 6 August 2013, Mr Thabo Toka Mack Masia (hereinafter referred to as “Masia”) presented himself by appointment at the Atteridgeville Magistrates’ Court in Pretoria before a maintenance (“papgeld”) officer for an enquiry in terms of the Maintenance Act 99 of 1998 pertaining to the maintenance of his minor child.
Read More - S v Albro Mclean. Case no: (A112/21) [2021] ZAWCHC158 High Court Cape Town dated 12 August 2021 and 2021(2) SACR 437 (WCC)
Mr Albro Mclean, the accused, was convicted of rape in the Wynberg regional court in the Cape Peninsula whereupon he was sentenced to life incarceration.

Letters - June 2022

On Monday 9 May 2022, the National Commissioner of the SAPS, Gen Fannie Masemola along with members of his management team conducted a site visit at the joint operational centre (JOC) for search and rescue teams at the Virginia Airport in Durban.
Saturday 14 May 2022 was to be yet another day of search, rescue and recovery operations in the disaster areas of KwaZulu-Natal following the flood devastation a few weeks earlier.
June 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.