• The lockdown has brought along increased policing which unfortunately led to some police and army members taking the law in their own hands by acting violently towards the public. Read our article published in Servamus: February 2021 dealing with this violence.

  • Food fraud is seldom talked about, but a crime that affects rich and poor and can be deadly. The horse meat scandal from 2013 – that was one example. Read the article published in Servamus: February 2021, to learn what food fraud entails.

  • Although many South Africans experienced hard lockdown as having to stay home and limit social exposure, it was a much different game for sex workers. They had to deal with unique challenges during the lockdown and we explore what they did in an article published in Servamus: February 2021..

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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).


[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 - February 2021

COVID-19 affects almost every facet of people’s lives and nobody has been left untouched.
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.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
The current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in various lockdown levels across the world, has opened new opportunities for criminals to exploit people - especially in cyberspace.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
“Bravery is not the absence of fear, but action in the face of fear” - Mark Messier.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - February 2021

Introduction Amendments to the Private Security Industry Regulations, 2002 as published in Government Gazette No 23120 dated 14 February 2002 (“the 2002 Regulations”) are published on p966 to p985 of Part 8 of Government Gazette No 43495 dated 3 July 2020.
Read More - S v Lungisa (696/2019) [2020] ZASCA 99 (9 September 2020) (SCA)
Mr Andile Lungisa, the accused, was convicted on 17 April 2018 before the magistrate’s court, Port Elizabeth (“the trial court”) on a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Letters - February 2021

Capson Phuti Kabe was born on 12 August 1960. He was a disciplinarian, a witty public speaker and a seasoned speech writer
Background In Ask Pollex of Servamus: January 2021, Pollex referred to an article that was published in Maroela Media relating to police stations’ areas of jurisdiction.
February 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.