• Physical evidence is the silent witness in criminal cases which is why it should not be contaminated and why the chain of custody is vital. Read our article published from p20 in Servamus: August 2021 to learn more about evidence and the story it tells.

  • The reconstruction of a crime scene is a vital step to give the court an idea of what happened at a crime scene. Our article published from p34 in Servamus: August 2021 explains what the process entails.

  • Various role-players from within the SAPS can help to provide specialised information about the scene, the victim and the suspect at a crime scene. Our article published from p23 in Servamus: August 2021 highlights these role-players.

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By Annalise Kempen

On 11 September this year, the 20th anniversary of one of the most tragic days in American history will be observed. Many of us can remember where we were or what we were doing when we saw the images of two airplanes flying into the Twin Towers in New York on 11 September 2001. It is as if those images are somehow imprinted into our minds, resulting in shock, disgust and goosebumps of how something so abnormal and unimaginable could have happened. The events of that day have changed many lives drastically and resulted in a renewed focus to deal with terrorist organisations that want to intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organisation to do or to abstain from doing any act (UNODC, 2004).

Much closer to home, communities in neighbouring Mozambique have also had life-changing experiences the past few years - with the latest tragic event happening during March 2021. On 11 September 2001, 2739 people died in the USA terror attacks (either as direct victims or subsequently as a result of their injuries sustained on that day) (CDC, 2002). In the northern parts of Mozambique, between 2600 and 2800 people were killed in the armed conflict between October 2017 and March 2021. However, United Nations (UN) refugee agencies estimate that as many as a million people have been displaced due to this armed conflict (GIATOC, 2021), meaning that the impact on and disruption of these community members' lives have been much greater than what happened in Manhattan, New York 20 years ago.

The United Nations Office of Crime and Drugs (UNODC) confirms that in addition to the human cost where lives are lost or permanently altered, terrorists and terror organisations aim to destabilise governments; and undermine economic and social development (UNODC, Nd). In the process, they make sure that people take note of what they stand for and about the extremes they are willing to go to, to achieve these aims.

What is terrorism?
In South Africa, the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities (POCDATARA) Act 33 of 2004, which came into operation on 20 May 2005, defines "terrorist activity", as follows:

"(a) any act committed in or outside the Republic, which -

(i) involves the systematic, repeated or arbitrary use of violence by any means or method;

(ii) involves the systematic, repeated or arbitrary release into the environment or any part of it or distributing or exposing the public or any part of it to -

(aa) any dangerous, hazardous, radioactive or harmful substance or organism;

(bb) any toxic chemical; or

(cc) any microbial or other biological agent or toxin;

(iii) endangers the life, or violates the physical integrity or physical freedom of, or causes serious bodily injury to or the death of, any person, or any number of persons;

(iv) causes serious risk to the health or safety of the public or any segment of the public;

(v) causes the destruction of or substantial damage to any property, natural resource, or the environmental or cultural heritage, whether public or private;

(vi) is designed or calculated to cause serious interference with or serious disruption of an essential service, facility or system, or the delivery of any such service, facility or system, whether public or private, including, but not limited to -

(aa) a system used for, or by, an electronic system, including an information system;

(bb) a telecommunication service or system;

(cc) a banking or financial service or financial system;

(dd) a system used for the delivery of essential government services;

(ee) a system used for, or by, an essential public utility or transport provider;

(ff) an essential infrastructure facility; or

(gg) any essential emergency services, such as police, medical or civil defence services;

(vii) causes any major economic loss or extensive destabilisation of an economic system or substantial devastation of the national economy of a country; or

(viii) creates a serious public emergency situation or a general insurrection in the Republic,

whether the harm contemplated in paragraphs (a)(i) to (vii) is or may be suffered in or outside the Republic, and whether the activity referred to in subparagraphs (ii) to (viii) was committed by way of any means or method; and …


[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: July 2021. The rest of the article continues to define terrorism; explores how South Africans are involved in and affected by terrorism (involving both local and regional actors); discusses South Africa’s capacity to deal with and investigate terror attacks; and looks at some of the success stories in terror investigations. 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 - August 2021

Television series have played a significant role in creating public interest about forensic science and the investigation of crime.
By Annalise Kempen
Despite Hollywood’s portrayal in numerous television programmes, crime scene investigation is a difficult and time-consuming task that cannot be completed in a couple of minutes.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Fire and water - two elements of nature that result in opposite reactions: when one stares at a firepit or a bonfire and listens to the sound of water such as a waterfall or waves breaking, it typically makes one calm and relaxed.
By Annalise Kempen
Every crime scene tells a story which is why it is of utmost importance that proper crime scene management is implemented to prevent the destruction of any evidence that might be found at a scene.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - August 2021

In two recent, different and unrelated case law, namely -
Read More - Minister of Transport v Brackenfell Trailer Hire (Pty) Ltd and Other 2021 (1) SACR 463 (SCA)
Role-players in this matter are: National Minister of Transport = the appellant;
Read More - S v Gabani 2021 (1) SACR 562 (ECB)
This Gabani case took place between the Mdantsane Magistrates’ Court and the High Court in Bhisho in the Eastern Cape.

Letters - August 2021

Dudley Maharaj was born in Pietermaritzburg in 1936 and recently turned 85 years of age.
NAME: W/O L H Zandberg STATION: Pretoria Central Magistrates’ Court
August 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.