• With numerous types of scams around, it is vital that we know how to pay attention to avoid falling victim to these scammers. Our Community Safety Tips published from p48 in Servamus: August 2022 provides valuable tips on spotting scams.

  • Scammers are greedy con-artists who want to make as much money as they can and without thinking about the harm they cause to others. Our article published from p10 in Servamus: August 2022, warn readers about a variety of scams to watch out for.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

By Kotie Geldenhuys

The majority of firearms are legally manufactured - even the ones that were diverted into the illegal pool of firearms in South Africa (Saferspaces, 2016). The United Nations explains the journey of firearms from legal to illegal as that these firearms may pass through “grey” patches where the legal status of a weapon is open to debate. One possibility is when retiring or demobilising soldiers keep their official firearms upon leaving the army, which is legal in some countries.

Unfortunately, an ex-soldier who is unable to find another job may go on to use that once legal firearm to commit an illegal act by robbing a store or selling it to a friend (illegal). In a country such as the USA, a private citizen with no criminal record might buy a firearm from the ex-soldier (legal) or a gun shop (legal), and later sell it at a garage sale to a stranger (legal or illegal, depending on local state or city laws). “The stranger may transfer it to a criminal gang (illegal); or he may simply keep the gun at home (possibly legal), from where it may be stolen by a burglar (illegal), or taken to school by his adolescent son to impress his friends (illegal). The lethal potential of a firearm remains the same, regardless of its legal status” (Peters, 2012).

According to Gun Free South Africa (GFSA), the 2019/2020 national crime statistics confirm that firearms are overwhelmingly the weapon of choice in South Africa to kill, injure, threaten and intimidate. This is evident from an analysis of some of the murder dockets which indicate that 45% of such murders in the country involved the use of a firearm (GFSA, 2020). The legality of these firearms can be questioned. Research conducted in 2017 by the international organisation Small Arms Survey, found that there are an estimated 2.35 million illegal firearms in South Africa (Irish-Qhobosheane, 2021).

The availability of illegal firearms plays a critical role in the operations and modus operandi of organised crime gangs and networks in South Africa. The diverse range of criminal networks that use the illicit firearms market includes gangsters (for example on the Cape Flats), poachers, armed robbers involved in hijackings, house robberies and cash-in-transit (CIT) heists as well as those involved in taxi mafias. Some of these networks engage with this market as consumers while others are dealers (Irish-Qhobosheane, 2021). Although we are not going to discuss each of these users in detail, it was clear that the use of R4s and R5s remained popular for CIT heists during 2019 and 2020, even though the use of AK-47s was increasing. There is a difference between the type of AK-47 used between 2003 and 2006 and those used currently, which are more sophisticated. According to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), Dashprod and LM rifles are also used in CIT heists. Jenni Irish-Qhobosheane, a senior analyst at the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC) wrote in a research report entitled “How to silence the guns? Southern Africa’s illegal firearms markets,” that the types of weapons used by CIT criminals provide a useful insight into the possible sources of those firearms. The R4s and R5s, which are police and SANDF-issued weapons, must come from State sources. “Some may have been taken by force from police and army officers, but the trend suggests that police and army employees are complicit in these heists,” she reported. While this provides an indication of the sources of these firearms, the source of the newer AK-47s is not known. However, a crime analyst from SABRIC said during an interview with GI-TOC in 2019 that some of these new AK-47s are believed to be from Zimbabwe. Others claim that these could have been smuggled from Mozambique into South Africa (Irish-Qhobosheane, 2021).


The illegal firearms market is fuelled in a number of ways which include:

  • firearms distributed during and as a result of political conflicts;
  • cross-border smuggling of firearms;
  • firearms sourced from legal civilian firearm owners;
  • diversion of police-issued firearms;
  • firearms sources from other government departments such as the SANDF and the Department of Correctional Services (Irish-Qhobosheane, 2021);
  • firearms that were lost or stolen from private security companies; and
  • firearms handed in by private owners during the various firearm amnesty periods which were intended for destruction as well as confiscated unlicensed firearms which were removed from police safe holds (Deal, 2022).


[This is an extract of an article published in Servamus: July 2022. If you are interested in reading the rest of the article that elaborates on these former aspects as well as the fact that illegal firearm comes at a cost, tackling firearm smuggling and the reality that legal firearms are being used in crime, send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or send a WhatsApp message to: 078 712 1745 to find out what you need to do to acquire the article. Ed.]

Servamus - August 2022

In these tough economic times one cannot blame people if they want their money to grow, especially when good returns are promised, as in the case of cryptocurrencies.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Diamonds are not only one of the most beautiful gemstones, it is also the most durable substance known to mankind.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
In a country where 7.9 million people are unemployed (StatsSA, 2022), it comes as no surprise that many people fall for employment scams.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Every year, more and more light is shed on the cruelty behind the breeding industry that is often kept hidden from the public by breeders.
Article and photos provided by the National Council of SPCAs

Pollex - August 2022

General Notice 642 of 2021, issued in terms of section 19(2) of the Defence Act 42 of 2002 by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans is published in Government Gazette No 45419 dated 2 November 2021.
Introduction Have you, the reader (in particular law enforcement officers) ever heard of the following?

Letters - August 2022

Congratulations to the following Servamus subscribers who have each won a book in the past few months’ book review competitions:
A resolution adopted in 2018, by a group of retired and serving members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to reach out to needy families, recently benefitted the Tlapu family in Tantanana village outside Phokeng, Rustenburg.
Aug 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.