• Extreme weather has led to more frequent flooding. Our article published from p27 in Servamus: January 2022 look at which emergency services are involved during such disasters and give tips to stay safe.

  • Large parts of South Africa have suffered a severe drought for more than 6 years. Our article published from p30 in Servamus: January 2022 look at the impact of droughts on our lives; diseases during droughts and provide tips to save water.

  • Do you know what to do in case of a hazmat incident or vehicle crash? We provide valuable tips on what to do in such cases in our article published from p37 in Servamus: January 2022.

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By Annalise Kempen

For many South Africans the word “disaster” became a reality in March 2020 when the President of the country, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation in the first of many “family meetings” to follow when he announced the country’s first lockdown. Seldom before had we paid attention to the Disaster Management Act and regulations as “disasters” were, in our minds, typically limited to areas that had been hit by a wildfire, drought or floods. When Mr Ramaphosa informed us that the coronavirus had been declared a national disaster, we all realised that this word was no longer only applicable during natural disasters - it became part of our daily lives. In fact, at the time of going to print at the beginning of December 2021, South Africa had already passed its 600th day in lockdown under the national state of disaster. Yet, disasters have been with us for much longer than the coronavirus and their impact in certain communities have been worse than this virus.

What is a disaster?
The Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 is the legislative authority in the country when we have to deal with disasters. It provides for an integrated and coordinated disaster management policy that focuses on preventing or reducing the risk of disasters, mitigating the severity of disasters, emergency preparedness, rapid and effective response to disasters and post-disaster recovery. It also provides for the establishment of national, provincial and municipal disaster management centres; disaster management volunteers; and matters incidental thereto.

According to Act 57 of 2002, a “disaster” means a progressive or sudden, widespread or localised, natural or human-caused occurrence which -
(a) causes or threatens to cause -
(i) death, injury or disease;
(ii) damage to property, infrastructure or the environment; or
(iii) disruption of the life of a community; and
(b) is of a magnitude that exceeds the ability of those affected by the disaster to cope with its effects using only their own resources.

A disaster can be declared as local, provincial or national, depending on its magnitude and severity or potential magnitude and severity. In terms of section 23 of Act 57 of 2002, a local disaster is classified as such if it only affects a single metropolitan, district or local municipality; and the municipality concerned, or, if it is a district or local municipality, either alone or with the assistance of local municipalities in the area of the district municipality is able to deal with it effectively. In June 2017, following the devastating Knysna fires that resulted in the loss of lives and severe property damage, a local state of disaster relating to the fires was declared in terms of section 55 of the Disaster Management Act. The same happened in the Bitou municipality relating to the fires. In both these cases the Eden district municipality provided assistance (Western Cape Government, 2021) although fire services from across the country also assisted with extinguishing the fires.


[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: January 2021. If you are interested in reading the rest of the article, 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. The article continues by explaining the different types of disasters – including natural versus man-made; the extent of disasters; the structures to deal with disasters in South Africa and highlights some of the disasters experienced in South Africa. Ed.]

Servamus - January 2021

In Servamus: December 2021, I discussed how the killing or injuring of a human being may be justified in terms of our common law.
By Adv John I Welch
For many South Africans the word “disaster” became a reality in March 2020 when the President of the country, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation in the first of many “family meetings” to follow when he announced the country’s first lockdown.
By Annalise Kempen
Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, fires, floods and hurricanes are damaging events that change the lives of people within no time.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Each year during the dry season, which for the largest part of the country is the winter months, authorities warn us about our behaviour about making fire.
By Annalise Kempen

Pollex - January 2022

- S v Tilayi appeal case no: CA 22/2020 High Court Mthatha dated 9 March 2021 and 2021 (2) SACR 350 (ECM)
Mr Mbiyozo Zanodumo Tilayi, the accused, was convicted during a summary trial before the High Court in Mthatha (“the trial court”) of the following offences:
Read More - Messrs (1) Sechaba Seloana; (2) Mmuso Seloana; and (3) Abraham Itumeleng Popa v (1) The Director of Public Prosecutions [for the Free State Province] [DPP]; (2) National Director of Public Prosecutions [NDPP]; and (3) the Presiding Magistrate in the Welkom District Magistrates’ Court case no: 4019/2020 High Court Bloemfontein dated 24 August 2021 (FB)
Relevant, applicable legal provisions Section 75 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”) provides as follows:

Letters - January 2022

NAME: W/O L Zandberg STATION: Pretoria Central Magistrates’ Court
During October 2021, my husband and I were on holiday but got stranded 10 km before Jansenville in the Eastern Cape with flat tyres.
January 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.