• 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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An argument that goes back to the womb
By Kotie Geldenhuys

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. But is there a link between FAS and crime?

One case which highlighted the link between criminality and FAS was the murder of Jessica Russell, a nine-year-old girl from British Columbia in Canada in May 2000. Jessica was brutally murdered by 20-year-old David Trott, who had been shifted around the foster care system since the tender age of 12 after his mother, who was a heroin addict and an alcoholic, had died. David had been in conflict with the law from an early age after he became involved in petty crime as a teenager - his crime later escalated to assault and vehicle theft. A few days before Jessica's murder, David was incarcerated and awaiting a psychiatric assessment pending an assault charge against him. As the assessment never arrived, the judge released David who had nowhere to go and no access to appropriate treatment or support. He then came in contact with Jessica Russell whom he brutally assaulted and murdered. In May 2002, during a 96-minute confession, he admitted to the murder and explained that he drove Jessica to a secluded Fraser Valley mountain east of Mission in British Columbia where he sexually assaulted her, broke into a trailer and tied her up. Afterwards he hanged her by looping an electrical cord from an overhead fixture. He told the police that Jessica did not fight, that he did not know how long it took for her to die and that he later set the trailer alight. After this confession, his lawyer, Howard Smith resigned. David Trott's reason for his decision to plead guilty was that he wanted to be in a federal penitentiary, where he could smoke. Mr Smith said he had never seen a sadder story of emotional neglect, abuse and untreated mental disorders. David Trott suffered from foetal alcohol syndrome and several behavioural disorders, including attention deficit disorder. In the months leading up to Jessica's death, he was taking strong anti-psychotic medication. According to Mr Smith, David Trott had the attention span of a gnat (similar to a fly) (Armstrong, 2002). David Trott was sentenced to six months' incarceration (Hanlon, 2017).

The Trott case is one of numerous cases which have been reported throughout the years where the perpetrator was a victim of FAS. Although one can describe the deeds of David Trott and various other offenders, suffering from FAS as brutal, one person who is to blame for the situation in which her child eventually land is the alcoholic mother. This argument can be taken back to the womb.

What is FAS?
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), which was first identified in the 1970s (Douglas et al, 2012), is a neuro-developmental disability that occurs as a result of foetal exposure to alcohol. These disorders include a wide range of physical, behavioural and learning problems. The most severe type of FASD is foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) which is a result of a woman drinking heavily during her pregnancy (Gavin, 2016). The developing brain is particularly vulnerable to alcohol and prenatal exposure to alcohol can lead to a variety of adverse effects on cognition, memory, attention, emotional/behavioural control, social skills, academic abilities and daily living skills. Restricted growth, diminished neurological functioning, characteristic facial features and behavioural challenges are all symptoms of FASD (Currie et al, 2016). FASD can be prevented when a woman avoids alcohol use at the time of conception or during pregnancy.

How big is the problem?
In many countries, including South Africa, alcohol consumption during pregnancy is common. Many women consider drinking as a coping strategy for their socio-economic and socio-political realities (Adebiyi et al, 2019). However, the high prevalence of FASD recorded in South Africa is partially attributed to the historical drinking culture driven by the "dop system", a system where farm workers' wages were paid in part in the form of alcoholic beverages (or "dop") (Hendricks, 2016).

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: May 2021. If you are interested reading the rest of this article where we discuss the lifelong problems encountered; the link between FAS and crime and whether FASD can have an impact during the trial, send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..]

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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.