• Do you know about the different types of spyware, its dangers and how you can protect yourself? The article published from p15 in Servamus: October 2021, will provide readers with valuable information about this dangerous software.

  • Along with family and colleagues, Servamus pays tribute to police members who have lost their lives in the line of duty – and to COVID-19. Our article published from p44 in Servamus: October 2021 reminds readers about the dangers our members face each day.

  • The Cybercrimes Act 19 of 2020 has been promulgated and will soon come into operation. Our legal discussion will help readers to understand this new legislation and is published from p22 in Servamus: October 2021.

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By Annalise Kempen
Information provided by Dr Shakeera Holland

Television series have played a significant role in creating public interest about forensic science and the investigation of crime. Unfortunately, the timelines and ideal conditions that are created in many of these programmes in which these television forensic scientists work, are often worlds apart from what forensic practitioners deal with in reality. One of the aspects that usually forms part of the storylines is the post-mortem examinations that are performed on deceased victims. And while many of us may find the process disgusting and nauseating, it is one of the most important aspects in revealing the truth about the cause of a person’s unnatural death through to the application of forensic science.

When someone dies, we all want to know what had caused their death and whether the person died as a result of an illness, disease or due to an unnatural cause. In the latter case, it is important to determine the exact cause of death to know whether someone should be held responsible for that person’s untimely passing. For this purpose, a forensic pathologist or forensic medical practitioner who has been registered and appointed in terms of regulation 16 of the Health Professions Act 56 of 1974, has to perform a post-mortem examination, which can include an autopsy, on the deceased’s body.

Post-mortem examinations and autopsies are said to date back more than 2000 years ago to ancient Roman times. It is widely reported that the post-mortem examination that Antistius, a doctor who may have been Julius Caesar’s personal physician, performed on Caesar, could be history’s first recorded application of medical knowledge to an unnatural death. Caesar was stabbed 23 times, but only one stab between the first and second rib proved fatal. This knife stroke was lodged with an upward-angled thrust just below the left shoulder blade which pierced Caesar’s heart. Even though it was impossible to verify the physician’s conclusions as Caesar’s body was cremated, it has been noted that Antistius’s inquiry marked the beginning of the pathologist’s role as an expert witness to murder (Bursztajn, 2005).

Forensic science is defined as “the application of scientific methods and techniques to matters under investigation by a court of law” (https://www.lexico.com/definition/forensic_ science). In South Africa, the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) was established on 15 January 1971 with various specialised units, namely biology, chemistry and electronics. Through the years, more specialised units, including the Ballistics and Questioned Document Units, which previously resorted under the SA Criminal Bureau, were amalgamated with the FSL. The activities of the various FSL units include the application of scientific principles, methods and techniques to the process of investigation. Forensic scientists have to perform the analysis of physical evidence objectively to search for the truth, with the intention of bringing perpetrators of crime to justice while simultaneously protecting innocent people from prosecution (SAPS, Nd). However, one of the subdisciplines of forensic science which does not resort under the FSL is the Forensic Pathology Services.

In 1998, Cabinet approved the transfer of the Medico-legal laboratories (MLL) or government mortuaries as they are commonly referred to, from the South African Police Service (SAPS) to the Department of Health. These MLLs were transferred to the Department of Health on 1 April 2006. The reasons for the transfer to another department included that Government wanted to improve objectivity and transparency regarding the handling of bodies and post-mortems, especially when it came to the handling of evidence regarding deaths in police custody (Kempen, 2006). It was a serious concern that the SAPS could not be the custodian of bodies due to possible conflict of interests since SAPS members might have been the perpetrators of murders or culpable negligence.

[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: August 2021. The rest of the article explains the relevant terminology; the applicable legislation; the function of a forensic medical practitioner and their role on a death scene; how DNA can be identified and when it should be collected, as well as their challenges. If you want to find out how you can read the rest of this article, send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..]

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Servamus - October 2021

The Internet has opened up massive communication and business opportunities to billions of people across the globe.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Cyberspace continues to revolutionise the way we all live, work and play and with it comes great opportunity for economic prosperity, job creation and technological innovation to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges such as tackling COVID-19, which has been a shared challenge across the world.
By Victoria White, First Secretary (Cyber), British High Commission Pretoria and Peter Goodman, Strategic Advisor to the UK Digital Access Programme
As if the protests and looting in KwaZulu-Natal in July 2021 were not enough to paralyse port operations in Durban for more than a week, Transnet, which is responsible for handling the commercial sea route, was also targeted on 22 July 2021 with a strain of ransomware.
Compiled by Kotie Geldenhuys
Whenever the term “forensics” is used, one is reminded about the Locard exchange principle of “every contact leaves a trace” which states that no perpetrator can leave a crime scene without leaving some trace.
By Annalise Kempen

Pollex - October 2021

Background On 31 March 2017, Mr Nolan van Schalkwyk, the accused, and another man (hereinafter referred to as “the second assailant”) attempted to rob the complainant, who was walking towards the Rentech Station in the Belhar area in the Cape Peninsula at around 06:15, while on his way to work. It was still completely dark.
Relevant law Section 86 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002 (hereinafter referred to as “the ECT Act”) provides as follows:

Letters - October 2021

It’s with great pleasure that I write this e-mail to you.
“GUN FREE SOUTH AFRICA welcomes draft Firearms Control Amendment Bill” When I receive Servamus in the post, at the first opportunity, I remove the wrapping and scan through the contents. Typically, the in-depth reading would take place later.
October 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.