• 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 Kotie Geldenhuys
Photos by Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp

Violence is the one term with which the majority of South Africans are not only familiar, but also an act which many have experienced and/or are still experiencing. The most recent Gallup Law and Order Index, listed South Africa as the fifth most violent country out of 144 countries which were covered in their survey (BusinessTech, 2020), while the Global Peace Index 2020 lists South Africa in position 123 out of 163 countries (IEP, 2020). And sadly, it is hard to disagree with both these indexes as the SAPS's annual crime statistics for the 2019/2020 report period confirm that violent crimes such as murder, assault and sexual offences are on the increase (SAPS, 2020). Our country is plagued by high levels of violent crime which have a negative impact on people's livelihood and our economy.

Violence is a global phenomenon which costs millions of people all over the world their lives every year. Almost 20 years ago, in 2002, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that each year, more than 1.6 million people die worldwide as a result of violence (WHO, 2002a). Almost two decades later this figure must be much higher.

Defining violence
People in different countries have different perceptions of what violence is due to their culture or belief systems. Since violence is such a complex phenomenon, it is difficult to find a clear definition for it, but the WHO defines it as follows: “The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation” (WHO, 2002a).

Categories and types of violence
The WHO divides violence into three broad categories:

  • Self-directed violence which refers to violent acts a person inflicts upon him- or herself, such as self-mutilation and suicidal behaviour.
  • Interpersonal violence refers to violence that is inflicted by another individual or by a small group of individuals and can be divided into two subcategories:

- Family and intimate partner violence includes child abuse and abuse of the elderly; and

- community violence occurs between unrelated individuals and includes random acts of violence and sexual crimes by strangers as well as violence in institutional settings such as schools, workplaces, correctional centres and nursing homes.

  • Collective violence is when people who identify themselves as members of a group use violence against another group. This includes violent conflicts between nations and groups, terrorism, rape as a weapon of war, the movement of large numbers of people displaced from their homes, gang warfare (WHO, 2002b) and organised violent crime (SaferSpaces, Nd). Between 2004 and 2015 South Africa experienced a 155% increase in collective violence. Research found that public protests, which often become violent, are motivated by vigilantism, demarcation disputes, xenophobic incidents, housing problems and political party disagreements (Brankovic, 2019). In South Africa, 29.7% of all protests, or public order incidents, were classified as unrest (SAPS, 2020).

SaferSpaces further divides these three categories into four, more specific, types of violence which can occur in each of the previously mentioned broad categories and their subcategories (except for self-directed violence):

  • Physical violence which includes assault, bullying, attempted murder and murder.
  • Sexual violence which includes rape and sexual assault.
  • Psychological violence which includes verbal and non-verbal communication used with the intent to harm another person mentally or emotionally and includes:

- expressive aggression such as humiliating and degrading behaviour;

- coercive control such as limiting access to goods or people;

- threats of physical or sexual violence;

- control of reproductive or sexual health; and

- the exploitation of people’s vulnerability such as immigration status or disability.

  • Neglect or deprivation occurs when someone has the responsibility to provide care for an individual who is unable to care for him- or herself, but fails to do so (SaferSpaces, Nd).

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: July 2021. The rest of the article informs us that murder claims more lives than war; looks at the causes and the cost of violence. 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.