• In what ways did the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic impact on the illegal drug trade? We explore how traders changed their modi operandi in an article published from p14 in Servamus: June 2022.

  • Dogs are known for their excellent sense of smell. Read our article published from p30 in Servamus: June 2022 about how a South African company has trained dogs to also detect COVID-19.

  • The floods of April 2022 caused havoc and death in KwaZulu-Natal. Fortunately, hundreds of search and rescue specialists used their skills to help search for those who were in need. Refer to an article published from p36 in Servamus: June 2022.

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By Kotie Geldenhuys

In December 2011, 38-year-old Janice Bronwyn Linden from Durban was executed in China. She was executed three years after she had been arrested on 30 November 2008, following her arrival at the Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, without declaring any goods. During the normal search procedure, 3 kg of methamphetamine hydrochloride were found in her luggage. She maintained her innocence and claimed that the drugs had been planted in her suitcase. But her appeal was rejected (BBC, 2011). In June 2016, 34-year-old Tyron Lee Coetzee from the Eastern Cape was arrested at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat Airport, carrying 1.46 kg of cocaine in his luggage. He apparently confessed to Vietnamese investigators that a Nigerian man had contracted him to smuggle cocaine into Ho Chi Minh City from Brazil, via a transfer in Dubai. According to reports, Tyron Lee was offered $3500 (approximately R50 000) to carry the drugs. In August 2018, he was found guilty of smuggling drugs and handed a death sentence in Hanoi, Vietnam (Reuters, 2018). Despite the threat of harsh penalties, it is incomprehensible that people volunteer to become drug mules which makes us question whether they do it out of greed or to make ends meet. However, not all drug mules do so willingly - some are innocent victims who have been tricked into smuggling drugs abroad, without their knowledge. But irrespective of whether or not they volunteered, drug mules are nothing but pawns in the hands of international drug syndicates.

According to Dr Jennifer Fleetwood, a criminologist and sociologist at Goldsmiths, University of London a drug mule is defined as: “… someone who carries drugs across international borders. They typically undertake this specific role only, working under the instructions of others. Mules carry drugs concealed in luggage, on their body or clothes, or swallowed in latex-wrapped capsules in order to avoid detection” (Fleetwood, 2015). Drug mules are human couriers used by drug trafficking syndicates to smuggle drugs (Geldenhuys, 2016). Dr Fleetwood further argues that there is no such thing as a typical drug mule as they may be “teenagers, pensioners, graduates and/or mothers. Some mules are involved due to violent coercion or threats but most are involved due to poverty and financial pressure” (Fleetwood, 2015).

Recruiters are no strangers to drug mules
The idiom of “what seems too good to be true, often is”, comes to mind when thinking about the reasons why some people volunteer to become drug mules. People remain susceptible to this form of criminal enterprise in a world where drug cartels operate and recruit in a way that offers them maximum protection, often leaving the drug mule to take the consequences of the entire enterprise (Klein, 2020).

Mules have little or no knowledge of the key players within drug networks because they are recruited by local men and women (Hübschle, 2014) or people they know. In the case of Angela Sanclemente, a former Colombian model, she used female models as drug mules (Penhaul, 2010). In November 2011, Angela was sentenced to six years and eight months’ incarceration for her role in smuggling drugs from South America to Europe (Phillips, 2011).

Another case is that of Vanessa Goosen, a former Miss SA semi-finalist, who was arrested in 1994 in Thailand for drug smuggling. She claimed that she was approached by someone known to the father of her unborn baby to take four engineering books back to South Africa from a friend in Thailand. Little did she know that the books had built-in compartments in the front and back hardcovers and spines in which 1.7 kg of heroin was hidden. This case confirms people's increased vulnerability towards accepting to “carry” something for someone they are acquainted with or trust, rather than a random person with whom they have no ties. This is also what happened in the case of Tessa Beetge who met Sheryl Cwele, wife of the former intelligence minister Siyabonga Cwele, who was her neighbour. Sheryl later offered Tessa an overseas job, but in June 2008 she was arrested in Brazil carrying cocaine worth almost $300 000 (about R2.9 million) in her suitcase (refer to an article published in Servamus: October 2014).


[This is an extract of an article published in Servamus: June 2022. If you are interested in reading the rest of the article that explains the methods of smuggling; the reasons why people turn into drug mules, which includes poverty, job choices and victimisation; how drug mules are detected and South Africans who are locked up abroad, send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out what you need to do to access the article. Ed.]

Servamus - June 2022

According to the World Drug Report for 2021, as released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), drug use resulted in the deaths of almost half a million people in 2019 (UNODC, 2021).
By Kotie Geldenhuys
In December 2011, 38-year-old Janice Bronwyn Linden from Durban was executed in China.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
WhatsApp and Telegram have become popular tools to send messages quickly and at almost no cost.
By Annalise Kempen
We all know someone who has been struggling with an addiction - ranging from prescription medication to illegal drugs, alcohol to gambling or even shopping.
Compiled by Annalise Kempen

Pollex - June 2022

Section 304(4) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”) provides as follows:
Read More - S v Essop (Case no 432/2020) [2021] ZASCA 66 (1 June 2021) (SCA)
Mr Aadiel Essop, the accused, pleaded guilty before the regional court (“the trial court”) on 45 counts of contravening section 24B(1)(a) of the Films and Publications Act 65 of 1996 (hereinafter referred to as the “Publications Act”), as well as one count of common law kidnapping (Afrikaans: “gemenereg menseroof”).
Read More - Minister of Justice (First Appellant) and Minister of Police (Second Appellant) v Masia 2021 (2) SACR 425 (GP)
Picture the following: On 6 August 2013, Mr Thabo Toka Mack Masia (hereinafter referred to as “Masia”) presented himself by appointment at the Atteridgeville Magistrates’ Court in Pretoria before a maintenance (“papgeld”) officer for an enquiry in terms of the Maintenance Act 99 of 1998 pertaining to the maintenance of his minor child.
Read More - S v Albro Mclean. Case no: (A112/21) [2021] ZAWCHC158 High Court Cape Town dated 12 August 2021 and 2021(2) SACR 437 (WCC)
Mr Albro Mclean, the accused, was convicted of rape in the Wynberg regional court in the Cape Peninsula whereupon he was sentenced to life incarceration.

Letters - June 2022

On Monday 9 May 2022, the National Commissioner of the SAPS, Gen Fannie Masemola along with members of his management team conducted a site visit at the joint operational centre (JOC) for search and rescue teams at the Virginia Airport in Durban.
Saturday 14 May 2022 was to be yet another day of search, rescue and recovery operations in the disaster areas of KwaZulu-Natal following the flood devastation a few weeks earlier.
June 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.