• 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
Photos by Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp; Masixole Feni/GroundUp and James Stent/GroundUp

COVID-19 affects almost every facet of people’s lives and nobody has been left untouched. The measures, such as lockdowns, which governments have been taking to contain COVID-19 affect households in many ways, including job security, the loss of income, increased prices, rationing of food and other basic goods. There have also been disruptions to health care services and the educational system. Despite many of us feeling sorry for ourselves due to the restrictions imposed in terms of disaster regulations, the reality is that the poor and the homeless have probably suffered the most under these regulations.

In an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, policy-makers around the world have the difficult task of balancing the positive health effects of lockdowns against their economic costs. In South Africa, the regulations issued in terms of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 are relatively stringent and the economic impact has been enormous, especially on low-income and food-insecure households.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, non-essential industries were ordered to cease operations to a great extent resulting in major job losses across the world. By mid-July 2020, it was reported that three million South Africans had lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. Of those who managed to keep their jobs, 1.5 million people were still left without an income for many months (Tswanya, 2020). Many others had to take salary cuts or wave their performance bonuses goodbye. During April 2020, the World Bank projected that COVID-19 would push approximately 49 million people around the globe into extreme poverty, with almost half of the projected new poor, around 23 million, living in Sub-Saharan Africa (Sánchez Páramo, 2020).

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN AND THE POOR
When South Africa implemented the COVID-19 lockdown to slow the rate at which the virus could spread at the end of March 2020, the country faced very different challenges to Western countries. As one of the most unequal countries, it is estimated that around 30.4 million people or 56% of the South African population live on R1227 or less a month (Newham and Du Plessis, 2020). The World Bank argues that while the impact will be felt almost immediately by the majority of households, the poor will most likely have a more intense and longer-lasting experience due to their vulnerability for reasons such as where they stay and work and their dependency on public services such as health and education (Sánchez Páramo, 2020). These reasons will be discussed briefly below.

The areas where the poor live
As the poor primarily live in rural areas, it might have initially minimised their exposure to the virus, but simultaneously it means that they have limited access to health services. With many rural households depending on income from urban migrants who have been affected by the economic shutdown, they also feel the financial impact the lockdown has (Sánchez Páramo, 2020).

A great concern however, is the poor in urban areas and townships. Millions of people live in single rooms and cramped conditions in congested informal settlements with low-quality services, which might significantly increase their risk of being infected. Others live in overcrowded inner-city buildings. Should any person in a household where a family shares a single room house, become infected with the virus, there is no place where they can isolate. It is also extremely difficult, if not almost impossible, for such big, poor families to stay indoors during hard lockdowns. It is important to keep in mind that many of the small houses in informal townships are built very close to one another, with no yards. When they exit their small house, they are virtually right on their neighbours' doorstep or on the pavement. This housing nightmare has meant that people living in poor and over-populated townships faced the brunt of police and SANDF members who enforced regulations during level 5 lockdown.

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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 relating to the challenges poor people face daily and during pandemics, but also about the positive stories that came as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, 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.