• Cellphones are valuable commodities in correctional centres as they enable inmates to keep in touch with their family and to keep their criminal networks active on the outside. Read the article published from p22 in Servamus: December 2021 to see how they get them into their cells.

  • Some people will do anything to get money – even murder their own family – like former Const Ndlovu. Our article published from p27 in Servamus: December 2021 deals with the realities of insurance fraud – especially in tough economic times.

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Compiled by Kotie Geldenhuys

Many people think that once a suspect has made a confession, the investigation is complete, but they are wrong. The investigating officer still has to obtain the necessary evidence to prove the confession. In the Krugersdorp murder case (refer to the Crime Series published in Servamus: July, August and September 2020), Le Roux Steyn made a confession, but D/Capt Ben Booysen still had to investigate the crimes to obtain evidence to prove the confession so that it was admissible in court.

According to Adv Zaais van Zyl SC, a retired prosecutor, confessions and admissions are “a tricky horse to ride”. In a series of articles which Servamus published in cooperation with Adv Van Zyl, he discussed admissions and confessions in detail. (This valuable series of articles were compiled in an e-book and is available for order from Servamus’s offices - see p23). Therefore, we will only touch briefly on admissions and confessions in this article.

What is an admission?
Adv Van Zyl explained that an admission is a statement that is prejudicial to a suspect, but which falls short of being a full confession. However, not every statement made by a suspect is an admission. Section 219A of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 deals specifically with informal admissions and states as follows:

“(1) Evidence of any admission made extra-judicially by any person in relation to the commission of an offence shall, if such admission does not constitute a confession of that offence and is proved to have been

voluntarily made by that person be admissible in evidence against him at criminal proceedings relating to that offence ...”

Informal admissions must be distinguished from formal admissions. Formal admissions are made for the purpose of reducing the number of contested issues in a trial. They dispense with the need for evidence on the matters which they cover and are binding on their maker. Section 220 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 provides for formal admissions. Informal admissions are only items of evidence, the admissibility of which must be proven by the prosecution. There is no prescript that states that an informal admission must be reduced to writing by anyone. All peace officers (including constables, sergeants or warrant officers) may receive an informal admission. Warning statements by a constable, sergeant or a warrant officer may be proved by the prosecution in a criminal trial if it only contains informed admissions (Van Zyl, 2015). Admissions made to police officials may serve as evidence before court (Lochner et al, 2020)

What is a confession?
Section 217 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (the CPA) makes provision for confessions which Adv Van Zyl explained as a special type of comprehensive informal admission. A statement will constitute a confession when the maker of the statement admits out of court to all the elements of the crime charged.

He reminded us that South African law reports are riddled with examples of statements that were considered to be confessions and statements found not to be confessions. In S v Grove-Mitchell 1975 (3) SA 417 (A), the statement of “I shot her full of holes” was held not to constitute a confession, as it was still open to the suspect to offer a defence, such as self-defence. Therefore, a statement of “I killed X” will thus not be a confession, but “I murdered X” will be (Van Zyl, 2015). A confession must relate to all the elements of the crime and exclude a defence such as self-defence or criminal capacity (Labuschagne, 2021). Adv Van Zyl further added that a confession to any offence which is a competent verdict to the offence charged, is a confession with regard to that former offence. If a suspect is charged with murder and the statement is a confession of only common assault (or any of the other competent verdicts mentioned in section 258 of the CPA such as robbery, public violence, the pointing of a firearm and attempted murder) the statement remains a confession (Van Zyl, 2015).

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: November 2021. If you are interested in reading the rest of the article, 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. The article also focuses on warning a suspect before taking the confession; making a confession; confessions made to civilians; false confessions; and a trial-within-a-trial. Ed.]

Servamus - December 2021

"On Monday 1 November 2021 I hugged every member of my immediate family, us all in tears, as I said goodbye to board a flight."
By Annalise Kempen
What guarantee do we have that when we enter a doctor's consulting room that the person wearing the stethoscope around their neck has really qualified as a medical practitioner?
Compiled by Annalise Kempen
In an ideal world, the community would pay serious attention to awareness campaigns to ensure that they mitigate their risk of falling victim to crime.
By Annalise Kempen
A topic that is seldom under discussion in higher education and academic circles is academic corruption and fraud.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - December 2021

Read More - Minister of Police and NDPP v Mr Ranshaw Bagley, Case no: CA 18/2020, dated 11 May 2021, High Court Makhanda (Grahamstown) (ECG)
Picture the following scenario: Mr Ranshaw Bagley (hereinafter referred to as “Ranshaw”), who is a member of the South African Police Service (“the SAPS”) (rank unknown), is minding his own business on a Saturday morning at his house in MT Croix in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth).
Read More - [Mr] DT v [Ms] BT 2021 (3) SACR 668 (FB)
Mr DT and Ms BT are husband and wife. Ms BT, however, absconded the marital home as the couple was involved in a hostile divorce at the time.
Relevant, applicable legal provisions Section 35 of the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996 (“the NRTA”), as amended by the National Road Traffic Amendment Act 64 of 2008, provides as stated infra. Note however that, in subsection (3) of section 35 the words that are highlighted, were inserted by means of the Amendment Act 64 of 2008, and that words in square brackets are inserted by Pollex:

Letters - December 2021

NAME: W/O L Zandberg STATION: Pretoria Central Magistrates’ Court
It is with a sad and heavy heart that we learnt of the sudden passing of our dear Sgt M Walter Nxumalo on 7 October 2021.
December 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.