• 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
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).

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.


[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 - 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.