• Would you know what your job entailed if you did not have a proper job description (JD) detailing what your employer expects of you? Read about the value of job descriptions in this 2-part article published in Servamus: October and November 2020.

  • Operation O Kae Molao is a weekly crime prevention and crime combating campaign held in Gauteng. This integrated law enforcement operation targets various crimes across the province. Read more about the successes achieved in Servamus: November 2020.

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By Kotie Geldenhuys

The untimely death of Suna Venter, an SABC journalist, in June 2017, is confirmation that threat assessment and management in the workplace is essential. Suna was part of the so-called SABC 8, who were suspended from the SABC in 2016 for disagreeing with orders to not cover anti-government and anti-media censorship protests that were taking place outside the SABC’s offices in Cape Town. The Labour Court ruled that they had been unfairly and unlawfully dismissed and had to be reinstated. But Suna who was regarded as the one who was leading the charge against the SABC, soon began to receive anonymous death threats.

Her flat was broken into multiple times, her vehicle’s tyres were slashed, she was allegedly assaulted on three separate occasions, shot at and once even abducted. She often stayed with a colleague and his family because she was scared to be at her own home where she lived alone. One morning when she got into her vehicle outside her colleague’s house, she realised that her vehicle’s brake cables had been cut. After a prolonged period of being exposed to workplace threats and acts of violence relating to her job as a journalist, Suna was diagnosed with a cardiac condition. Stress cardiomyopathy, also known as Broken Heart Syndrome, was eventually the cause of this 32-year-old journalist’s untimely death (Clark, 2017).

As a result of human nature, all workplaces will experience some form of workplace violence and threats since conflict is part and parcel of human interaction. However, there are certain occupations, such as law enforcement, correctional services, healthcare services, prosecutors, banking services, auditing services, customer care services and journalism, that lend themselves to be more exposed to work-related threats.

Such threats can come from:

  • Strangers who:
    - Make bomb threats to a company, which is what happened at Menlyn Maine in September 2019 where a man walked into a bank and handed a note to a bank teller. The note contained a threat claiming that a bomb was planted inside the bank. The security officers and SAPS reacted and immediately evacuated the whole shopping centre, but no explosive device was found. The man was arrested and charged (Mahlokwane, 2019). But real bombers seldom take the trouble of making bomb threats beforehand. For example, during July 2018, explosive devices were found in shops inside the Pavilion and the Gateway shopping malls in Durban (Wicks, 2018).
    - Rob a bank or shop, as was the case on 3 August 2020 when three men stormed into a jewellery store at The Glen Shopping Centre, south of Johannesburg and threatened the staff with firearms, before locking them in a room. The three men were subsequently joined by seven more accomplices who looted the jeweller (Thusi, 2020).
    - Demand ransom after hacking a company’s database. Extortion threats are some of the threats faced by companies in the digital era. Data is usually the “commodity” that extortionists use to threaten companies. On 14 June 2018, hackers infiltrated the South African insurer, Liberty Holdings’ information technology systems and extracted 40 TB of data. The hackers threatened to make that data public unless Liberty paid a ransom, but the insurer refused to pay the money. The hack was made possible via e-mail systems, often the weakest link in any business. All the cybercriminals require is for one unsuspecting staff member to open an e-mail attachment which releases malware and gives such hackers access to a company’s database (Khumalo, 2018). Liberty Holdings’s share price dropped by 4.7% in the two days after the attack, wiping R1.68 billion off the firm’s R34 billion market value. Even without paying the ransom, Liberty Holdings suffered a significant financial blow (www.itweb.co.za/content/dgp45qaGabl7X9l8).

Many South African companies have in recent years fallen victim to cybercrime resulting in the loss of millions of rand. In 2017, Standard Bank was hit by a multimillion-rand fraud that involved the withdrawal of cash using a number of fictitious cards at various ATMs in Japan. At the time the loss was estimated at approximately R300 million. In 2012, South Africa’s Post Bank lost R43 million to a cybercrime syndicate.

  • Frustrated customers, clients or community members for example threaten and swear at employees at a bank, hospital or police station. An example of a frustrated customer occurred in March 2019 when an angry woman rammed her vehicle into a Standard Bank Branch on the East Rand following an argument with a bank teller who failed to help her (News24.com, 2019).
  • Co-workers intimidate and bully others in the office, employees send inappropriate e-mails of a sexual nature to other co-workers and suicidal employees threaten to harm themselves or others.
  • Romantic partners, for example former spouses threaten their ex-partners at their offices.


[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: October 2020. In the rest of the article we explain what a threat assessment entails; the importance of using professionals, having policies and undergoing training; employer’s responsibilities and why physical security and threat management should be used in conjunction. If you are interested in reading the comprehensive article, contact Servamus’s offices by sending an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phoning us at tel: (012) 345 4660. Ed.]

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Servamus - November 2020

The job of a "private investigator" or PI is synonymous with images of the sexy Thomas Magnum, a former Navy seal, who drives around in a red Ferrari on the beautiful island of Hawaii, in the similarly named television series Magnum PI.
By Annalise Kempen
For many years South Africa has been experiencing considerably higher levels of crime.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Madoda Magadla, a 50-year-old man from Daveyton, who was accused of stealing a television, was executed by an angry mob who assaulted him in the yard of the family home where the television set allegedly went missing.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Crime is a global challenge that threatens safety and security within communities, and the peace and stability of the country.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - November 2020

Read More - Minister of Police and Another v Stanfield and Others (1328/2018) [2019] ZASCA 183 (2 December 2019) SCA)
Introduction Section 31 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”) provides as follows:
Read More - S v Motladile 2019 (1) SACR 415 (FB)
Intention to possess drugs Section 4(b) of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992 (hereinafter referred to as the “Drugs Act”) which is, inter alia, about the illegal possession of undesirable dependence-producing substances, does not give an emphatic or explicit indication that “intention” (dolus) is the required form of fault (mens rea) for such an offence.
Read More - S v Van Helsdingen Case No: AR 566/18 dated 17 August 2020 (KZP)
The accused was charged before the regional court, Newcastle in KZN (“the trial court”) with 1225 counts of contravening various provisions of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007 (hereinafter referred to Act 32 of 2007), and the Films and Publications Act 65 of 1996.
Read More - S v Radebe and Others 2019 (1) SACR 565 (FB)
Background On 13 June 2012, four accused persons (hereinafter referred to as “appellants”), were convicted by a single judge of the High Court in Bloemfontein (“the trial court”) of the following offences namely, count 1: housebreaking with intent to murder and murder; and count 5: public violence*.
By now it is well-known that Lt-Col Charl Kinnear (52) was shot and killed outside his house in Bishop Lavis in the Cape Peninsula on Friday 18 September 2020, just after 15:00 in what appeared to be an assassination (Afrikaans: “sluipmoord”).

Letters - November 2020

It has come as a shock to the public as well as to members of the SAPS to witness the number of senior police members who have been arrested during recent months for their alleged involvement in tender fraud.
NAME: W/O L H Zandberg STATION: Pretoria Central SAPS
November 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.