• 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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By Kotie Geldenhuys

The Internet has opened up massive communication and business opportunities to billions of people across the globe. The expansion of Internet access has also resulted in a subsequent growth of online markets. This means that the Internet is the world’s biggest marketplace which is open for business 24/7, has no boundaries, is largely unregulated, is free and mostly anonymous (IFAW, 2014). This provides easy opportunities for any criminal activity including the multibillion-dollar illegal wildlife trade which is gaining ground on the Internet.

Since the Internet has become a global bazaar, E-commerce and social media platforms provide new and easier routes to advertise illegal wildlife and its products. Organised criminal groups are increasingly using these online platforms to facilitate the transnational trafficking of wildlife products (UNODC, 2020). A wide range of species are targeted for their products including ivory, rhino products, tiger products and even live exotic animals such as the African grey parrot and blue and yellow macaws (Ebersole, 2020) are advertised openly on a variety of websites on the open web (websites daily used by people) and social media platforms.

The number of online advertisements of illegal wildlife products has increased exponentially over the years. An investigation by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) over a six-week period early in 2014, found that the trade in endangered wildlife took place on 280 online marketplaces in 16 countries. It was further found that a total of 33 006 endangered wildlife and wildlife parts and products from species listed on CITES Appendix I and II were available for sale in 9482 advertisements. Of these, 54% were for live animals while 4% were for animal parts and products (IFAW, 2014).

Online platforms join the fight against the illegal wildlife trade
During a 2007 investigation conducted by the IFAW, 400 elephant ivory items were identified on the eBay platform in the United Kingdom. eBay became the first online marketplace that pledged to ban the sale of ivory on its site in 2008 (Coghlan, 2008). Although eBay joined more than 30 international tech, e-commerce and social media companies and conservation groups in 2018 to form the global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online (Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, 2020), ivory sales continued on eBay (Alfino and Roberts, 2020). The goal of the coalition, which is led by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Traffic (a wildlife trade monitoring group) as well as the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, 2020), was to reduce cyber wildlife trafficking by 80% by the end of 2020. However, despite the coalition’s good intentions, it impossible to quantify wildlife trafficking online because deals are so often done covertly (Ebersole, 2020).

In 2017, the USA’s National Whistleblower Center claimed that Facebook was facilitating illegal activity on its platform. To support their claim, they called in the help of two former law enforcement agents who logged onto Facebook and created profiles representing themselves as ivory dealers. They posted photographs from safari trips on their profiles, to make them look like authentic ivory traders. They then sent friend requests to suspected wildlife traffickers in Vietnam and joined Facebook groups where those individuals were active. As these two former law enforcement officers do not speak Vietnamese, they used Google translate to type words such as “ngà voi” and “s ng tê giác”, ivory and rhino horns. Within no time, they had infiltrated a network of hundreds of ivory traffickers who were just too eager to buy their products (Ebersole, 2020). Ironically, Facebook was one of the members that joined the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online in 2018.


[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: October 2021. If you are interested in reading the rest of the article, send an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out what you need to do. Other issues that are discussed in this article deal with investigative and prosecution challenges, including the fact that removing adverts can hamper investigations; and crime fighting tools.]


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.