• We cannot drive while on “autopilot” while doing other things such as using our cellphones, applying make-up or eating. Our article in Servamus: April 2021 explains why it is dangerous to multi-task while driving.

  • Do you agree that having more roadworthy vehicles on our roads will contribute to road safety and less crashes? If you don’t, read our Community Safety Tips in Servamus: April 2021 where we explain why we believe it would.

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By Kotie Geldenhuys

COVID-19 does not only impact on society and the economy, but it also impacts and shapes organised crime and illicit markets. The initial response to the pandemic affected the operation of criminal networks across the globe. While the pandemic has reduced some organised criminal activities, it has simultaneously provided opportunities for new ones.

The COVID-19 lockdown has affected public movement and also closed borders which had an immediate impact on some criminal activities, which have either slowed down or stopped. However, the disruption caused by COVID-19 was quickly exploited, with some criminal groups expanding their portfolio, particularly in relation to cybercrime and opportunistic criminal activities in the health sector (UNODC, 2020). There are reports of criminal groups who have exploited confusion and uncertainty to take advantage of a new demand for illicit goods and services.

According to the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI TOC) (2020), there are four major ways in which the pandemic will have implications for organised crime, namely:

  • Some organised crime activities have been constrained by social distancing measures and travel restrictions and will take time to reconstitute themselves;
  • as the attention of police agencies and policymakers is diverted elsewhere, some criminal groups have grabbed this opportunity to scale up their activities;
  • organised criminal groups, some long embedded in the health sector, have quickly identified opportunities to exploit the sector; and
  • cybercrime has emerged rapidly as a risk area that could have long-term implications for the growth of criminal markets.

 

The impact of travel restrictions on organised criminal groups
Although lockdowns, travel restrictions and border restrictions have hampered organised criminal groups' ability to organise prostitution, infiltrate security forces and traffic drugs, humans, wildlife and firearms, illicit activities rapidly reconstitute themselves to meet both old and new market demand (GI TOC, 2020). Despite the fact that borders have been closed, hundreds of underground border crossings, which were already used to smuggle migrants, drugs, illegal gold and other illicit commodities prior to the pandemic and which are controlled by criminal groups, are continued to be used to subvert the quarantine measures (Gagné Acoulon, 2020). Organised crime groups have also found creative ways to transport drugs such as crystal methamphetamine which have been found in shipments of medical supplies and food parcels (OECD, 2020).

A reduction in Chinese exports to the rest of the world has taken its toll on the revenue of criminal groups. As China is the leading source of counterfeit and illicit trade goods globally and with these factories on lockdown, criminal enterprises have found themselves without alternative sources of supply (GI TOC, 2020). The production of methamphetamines and fentanyl by Mexican cartels is also impaired by difficulties in procuring imports of the precursor chemicals from China. This has resulted in a shortage and led to increased prices. One drug trafficker said that the production is still happening, but at lower rates than usual (Bonello, 2020).

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[This is an extract of an article published in Servamus: February 2021. If you want to read the rest of this article discussing how pandemics create an opportunity to recruit new members; organised crime groups take advantage of struggling businesses and the healthcare sector, other commodities and fuel the black market and the realities of cybercrime, 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.. Ed.]

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Servamus - April 2021

They are all over our roads, they stop wherever they want to, ignore red traffic lights and are motorists’ worst nightmare.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Desperate to get the Umgeni Municipality’s attention to fix the dangerous potholes on the roads in the Howick area in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, residents participated in a tongue-in-cheek pothole fishing competition at the end of February 2021.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Road crash scenes do not make for a picture to remember.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
It is not unusual to hear or read about a serious or fatal vehicle crash where one of the drivers was under the influence of alcohol.
By Annalise Kempen

Pollex - April 2021

Read More - Alternative mechanisms required - S v Frederick and Another 2018 (2) SACR 686 (WCC)
Two independent and unrelated matters were referred for review to the High Court in Cape Town (“the review court”), at the same time and by the same magistrate (“the trial court”).
Read More - Booysen v Minister for Safety and Security 2018 (2) SACR 607 (CC)
This is a matter in which Mr Johannes Mongo, who was a SAPS constable reservist, shot and wounded his girlfriend, Ms Elsa Booysen.
Read More In the matter between - Ms Nomachule Gigaba (Née [born]) Mingoma - The applicant; and Minister of Police - the first respondent; Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation - the second respondent (hereinafter referred to as the Hawks); Maj-Gen M O Ngwenya - the third respondent and attached to the Hawks; Capt K M Mavuso - the fourth respondent and attached to the Hawks; Sgt Norton Ndabami - the fifth respondent and attached to the Hawks; National Prosecuting Authority (“The NPA”) - the sixth respondent; and WISE4AFRICA - the seventh respondent. Case number 43469/2020 ZAGPPHC55 dated 11 February 2021, High Court, Pretoria (GP).
The applicant in this matter, Ms Gigaba, is the estranged (Afrikaans: “vervreemde”) wife of the former Cabinet Minister, Mr Malusi Gigaba.

Letters - April 2021

After being side-lined for the past 11 months due to COVID-19, Captain Khumalo is returning to active duty. Captain Khumalo has returned to child-care centres and schools across Cape Town from 17 February 2021, to resume his mission of educating children on safety issues.
Die Bejaardesorgfonds vir afgetrede polisielede het op 5 Maart 2021 ‘n groot geskenk van die Klub79+1 groep in die vorm van ongeveer 600 gebreide blokkies en klaargemaakte komberse ontvang.
April 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.