• We pay tribute to the 40 heroes in blue who have lost their lives during the 2019/2020 financial year. #Salute

  • Why do some law enforcers have a resistance to wearing bulletproof vests and what are the implications? We explore …

  • Our healthcare facilities are supposed to be safe places where people can heal in peace and their carers can treat them professionally. Unfortunately, that does not happen. Read why some of our state hospitals are dangerous places.

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By Kotie Geldenhuys

When Sinja Robin Mabitsela and Josias Xaniseka Mkansi (also known as the Alexandra Balaclava serial rapists) started their raping spree, they did not realise that their DNA would be their downfall. Over a period of eight years, which stretched from 2007 to 2015, they terrorised the community of Alexandra on the East Rand of Gauteng.

They attacked couples in a park close to the Alexandra cemetery where they would rob their victims of their cellphones and order the man to have sex with the woman. Afterwards the two rapists would take turns to rape the woman. In cases where the men resisted, they were simply murdered. The Serial Investigation Section at the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit in Gauteng received forensic DNA investigative leads linking crime scenes and more than 50 rape dockets with the same modus operandi for investigation. During 2015 the FCS Unit arrested two rapist murderers. Buccal samples were collected from Mabitsela and Mkansi and submitted for forensic DNA analysis at the Forensic Science Laboratory. A subsequent comparison search on the National Forensic DNA Database by the Section: Forensic Database Management linked the two suspects to a number of rape cases. In March 2017, Sija Mabitsela handed in a plea agreement and was found guilty on 53 charges which included rape and robbery. In November 2017, he was sentenced to 32 life sentences on 23 counts of rape, six counts of compelled rape, 18 counts of armed robbery, three counts of sexual assault, two counts of kidnapping and one count of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He was also sentenced to an additional 275 years' incarceration for kidnapping and robbery with aggravated circumstances. In October 2017, Josias Mkansi was sentenced to 14 life sentences after he was found guilty on multiple rape charges as well as an additional 185 years' incarceration for aggravated assault and an additional two ten-year sentences for compelled rape.

There are many other serial rapists who, like Sinja Robin Mabitsela and Josias Xaniseka Mkansi, create fear in communities. When the national crime statistics for 2018/2019 were released in September 2019, it became evident that there was a significant increase in rape for the said financial year. The 2018/2019 figure increased to 41 583 from 40 035 for the 2017/2018 financial year. These horrendous statistics make one wonder how many of these reported crimes are committed by serial rapists. In 2006 researchers reported that 16% of young South African men living in rural areas either were involved in raping a non- partner or participating in a gang rape. Of this 16%, more than one third had raped two or more different victims (Jewkes et al, 2006). Even though these statistics are quite old, one needs to ask whether a substantial number of serial rapists are at work in South Africa at any given time, when the increase in rape cases is taken into consideration.

DNA has proven to be one of the most effective investigating tools available to law enforcement to secure the conviction of serial rapists. The Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act 37 of 2013 (commonly known as the DNA Act) which came into operation in January 2015, provides for the expansion and administration of the National Forensic DNA Database of South Africa (NFDD). This authorises the SAPS to match forensic DNA profiles derived from samples collected at crime scenes with forensic DNA profiles derived from offenders convicted of and suspects arrested for offences listed in a new Schedule 8 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (as amended). The comparison of forensic DNA profiles derived from crime scenes against the forensic DNA profiles from a certain category of persons in the NFDD, enables a proficient mechanism to link perpetrators to crime scenes. The DNA Act provides for the amendment of the South African Police Service Act of 68 of 1995 to:

  • facilitate the establishment and regulation of the NFDD;
  • take specified bodily samples from certain categories of persons for the purposes of forensic DNA analysis;
  • provide for the conditions under which the samples or forensic DNA profiles derived from the samples may be kept or the periods within which they must be destroyed;
  • facilitate the use of forensic DNA profiles in the investigation of crime and the use of such profiles in proving the innocence or guilt of persons before or during a prosecution or the exoneration of convicted persons; and
  • assist in the identification of missing persons and unidentified human remains.


[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: September 2020. The rest of the article deals with the value of DNA profiling, how the different indices work, what the DNA process entails and we give various examples of how DNA has contributed to the conviction of criminals. If you are interested in reading the comprehensive article, send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact Servamus’s office at tel: (012) 345 4660/41. Ed.]

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Servamus - October 2020

In the early morning hours of 2 June 2019, Bernard Groenewald, a truck driver, pulled over along the N1 near Touws River in the Western Cape, when a petrol bomb was thrown into his truck. As he tried to jump out of his truck to escape, he broke his ankle and was unable to flee the scene.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
On 6 September 2020, the SAPS commemorated the lives of 40 police officials who had paid the highest price during the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.
By Annalise Kempen
The untimely death of Suna Venter, an SABC journalist, in June 2017, is confirmation that threat assessment and management in the workplace is essential.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
We are all familiar with the term “bullying” and all too often images of learners who are bullied by teasing, isolation and physical assaults, come to mind.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - October 2020

Read More - Pretorius and Others v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Others 2018 (2) SACR 501 (GP)
Three applicants, who are all members of the same family, were involved in this application before the High Court in Pretoria.
Read More - S V M 2018 (2) SACR 573 (SCA)
Relevant legislation Section 194 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”) provides as follows:
Read More - Rautenbach v Minister of Safety and Security (nowadays called the Minister of Police) 2017 (2) SACR 610 (WCC)
Introduction Mr Rautenbach instituted civil action for damages in the sum of R346 750 against the Minister of Police before the High Court in Cape Town arising from Mr Rautenbach’s alleged unlawful arrest and detention at the local police station in Mossel Bay*.
Read More - S V Kruse 2018 (2) SACR 644 (WCC)
Mr Kruse, the accused, is deaf and mute (Afrikaans: “doofstom”).

Letters - October 2020

Congratulations to the subscribers who won the following books in this year’s book competitions:
It is with deep regret and much sadness that I learnt of the passing of W/O Herman de Bruin on 7 September 2020.
October 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.