• Too many street children resort to sniffing glue to help them to forget about the pain, cold and even abuse they have to suffer. We explore their world in an article featured in Servamus: May 2021.

  • The reality about the persistent demand for babies due to people who cannot have their own, has resulted in a market for “human fertility”. We explore this shocking reality in the May 2021 issue of Servamus.

  • Perfect parents do not exist, but parents can be guided in doing their best to help their children to grow up to become responsible and law-abiding citizens. In the May 2021 issue of Servamus we provide our readers with a parenting guide.

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By Annalise Kempen

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. Many people have in the process become more dependent on technology, the Internet and online platforms to work, study, meet, shop and interact with loved ones and family.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) notes in a research brief entitled "COVID-19-related trafficking of medical products as a threat to public health" which was published in July 2020, that the increase in cyberattacks and online scams, correlates with the spread of COVID-19. It is no surprise that there has been an increase in such attacks and scams targeting especially hospitals and critical public infrastructure engaged in combating COVID-19, since the first quarter of 2020. Unfortunately, the UNODC does not expect that these cyberattacks and scams will end soon (UNODC, 2020).

The most common COVID-related cybercrimes
Two of the most common COVID-related cybercrimes that the UNODC (2020) have identified are COVID-19-related fraud where products (mostly medical) have been paid for, but were never delivered; and data that has been stolen and sold on the Dark Web. In terms of the types of online threats that have been experienced, the UNODC notes the following:

  • Fraudulent websites, where corporate websites have been manipulated to make the purchaser/client believe that the company is genuine and legitimate;
  • phishing and scamming which are perpetrated via e-mail where the perpetrator intends to steal the user's personal information; and
  • ransomware attacks, where the perpetrator either threatens to publish the victim's data or perpetually blocks the victim's access to his or her data, unless the victim pays a ransom. The crime is typically perpetrated through malware which is often activated after the victim has opened an e-mail attachment, or clicked on a link in an e-mail message.

INTERPOL (2020a) agrees that the types of cyberattacks relate to three areas, namely:

  • Malicious domains where the words "coronavirus", "corona-virus", "covid19" and "covid-19" have become common. Although many of these websites are legitimate, cybercriminals have been creating thousands of new websites during the past couple of months which send out spam campaigns and spread malware.
  • Malware, spyware and Trojans have been embedded in many interactive corona-virus maps and websites. Cybercriminals have been taking advantage of the widespread global communication on COVID-19 to mask their activities. These spam e-mails are set up in such a way as to trick users into clicking on links which download malware to their computers or mobile devices.
  • Ransomware have been perpetrated against many hospitals, medical centres and public institutions that have been so overwhelmed with the health crisis that they could not afford to be locked out of their systems, which criminals believe would make them more likely to pay the ransom. The ransomware can enter their systems through e-mails containing infected links or attachments, compromised employee credentials, or by exploiting a vulnerability in the system (INTERPOL, 2020a).

The use of the Dark Web in times of pandemics
Each week, the Evidence-based Cybersecurity Research Group based at the Georgia State University, USA collects data from 60 Dark Web markets and forums through its darknet analysis project. This research group has found that three major types of COVID-19 offerings have emerged since late February 2020 relating to protective gear, medication and services to help people commit fraud.

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: January 2021. If you are interested in reading the rest of the article please contact Servamus’s offices. Tel: (012) 345 4622 or send 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 - May 2021

This tweet left me with much to think about: “So my 8 year old met the guy in my life for the first time and he asked him for permission to call him dad.
By Annalise Kempen
South Africa is not only one of the countries with the highest crime rates in the world, but also with the highest rate of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) globally.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
In April 2021, a video showing a Grade 10 learner being bullied in full view of her peers at a secondary school in Limpopo, went viral on social media.
By Sas Otto
Infertility or the desire to have a child has resulted in many babies ending up as commodities for sale on the black market.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - May 2021

Read More - Doorewaard and Another v the State (Case No 908/2019) [2020] ZASCA 155 (27 November 2020) and 2021(1) SACR 235 (SCA
ntroduction Mr Pieter Doorewaard (accused 1) and Mr Philip Schutte (accused 2) were convicted before the High Court in Mahikeng in the North West Province (“the trial court”) on five counts, namely murder; kidnapping; intimidation; theft and illegal pointing of a firearm.
Read More - S v Lekeka 2021 (1) SACR 106 (FB)
Mr Molefe Edward Lekeka, the accused, was convicted by the regional court in Bethlehem in the Free State (“the trial court”), of count 1, housebreaking with intent to contravene section 3 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007 (hereinafter referred to as Act 32 of 2007), and count 2, contravening section 55(a) of Act 32 of 2007.
Read More - amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism NPC* and Another v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Others; Minister of Police v amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism NPC* and Others CCT 278/19 AND CCT 279/19 dated 4 February 2021 Constitutional Court (CC)
The applicants, namely amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism NPC* and Mr Stephen Sole - a journalist who had been the subject of state surveillance* - approached the High Court in Pretoria (“the High Court”) on the basis of a number of constitutional challenges to the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Act 70 of 2002 (hereinafter referred to as “RICA”)*.

Letters - May 2021

I endorse the sentiments of Jay Jugwanth about the absence of the Police Minister and MEC at the home of Sgt Paul.
On 11 March 2021, a closely-knit family was robbed of its nucleus, D/Sgt Jeremy Paul, who was ambushed and murdered while tracing a suspected in Swapo, an informal settlement in Pietermaritzburg.
Losing Louis has been very difficult for both myself, my sons, Jordan aged 14 and Jared aged 12. Louis contracted Covid-19 at the beginning of December 2020, and became too weak to fight anymore.
May 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.