The men and women in blue were honoured for their efforts to make South Africa a safer place and putting the bad guys behind bars. The awards were held in Polokwane on Saturday night where police Minister Bheki Cele thanked the distinctive SAPS members for doing a stellar job. Thirty SAPS members received awards and gifts for their hard work and dedication.
Sergeant Keisha Mabunda who worked tirelessly in ending serial killer Rosemary Nomia Ndlovu’s killing spree was honoured for his thorough investigation which led to the arrest and subsequent conviction of the ex-cop. Ndlovu’s arrest in 2018 made headlines after it was discovered she orchestrated the death of five of her relatives and her partner to benefit from their funeral insurance policies. In his acceptance speech, Mabunda said it was important for law enforcement officers to have compassion for the victims of crime.
“Take the complainant as if they were from your relative. You must feel for that victim of crime, be in his or her shoes. Believe me, you’re gonna win whatever case you’re dealing with,” says Mabunda. Ndlovu was sentenced to six life sentences for murder, attempted murder, defeating the ends of justice and fraud.Mabunda said the case was not an easy one to figure out because Ndlovu had thoroughly planned and was personally involved in executing the murders. “I never gave myself days off to the point that my weekends were dedicated to connecting the dots and trapping Ndlovu. I met with witnesses whose testimonies helped a lot. I’d like to also acknowledge the colleagues that helped me especially in Tembisa where Rosemary was stationed,” he said.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said it is important to acknowledge the good work done by police. He said not only will they feel appreciated but they’ll work even harder and this will restore the community’s faith in the SAPS. “There is 40% overpopulation of inmates in prison and all of them did not march there and for anybody to get life it means a member of SAPS did a good job to get them there.” He said although police do their best to bring criminals to book, they will not be able to end crime because criminals live among us and they are not exposed by the community. “This is why this Ministry and SAPS leadership will continue to respond and engage communities, not only when problems arise, but to continuously nurture community relations as part of the DNA of the SAPS.”
MEMBERS WHO WALKED AWAY WITH AWARDS
*Visible Policing and Operations Employee of the Year was awarded to Constable TM Mothamane from the Free State province. The member is responsible for implementing school safety programs at 39 schools.
*Sergeant TJ Chokoe also obtained the number one spot in the same category. The member who is stationed at the Westenburg Police Station in Limpopo is known to go the extra mile, bringing in creativity and innovation when conducting investigations. Chokoe’s relentless efforts led to the arrest of a serial rapist who was terrorising women in Polokwane, Maleboho and Musina.
*Directorate For Priority Crime Investigation Employee of the Year was awarded to Warrant Officer EW Brittion. The member managed to crack a syndicate that was trafficking drugs from South America to South Africa using maritime transport.
*Crime Intelligence Team of the Year was awarded to the National Anti-Kidnapping Task Team. In a space of two years, the team investigated 134 cases of kidnappings where ransom demands were made. To date, more than 124 suspects have been arrested with 81 still in police custody.
*Medium Risk Team of the Year was awarded to the KwaZulu-Natal Search and Rescue Team led by Warrant Officer F Pretorius. During the KZN floods, the team was deployed to perform search and rescue operations. The members selflessly sacrificed many hours to rescue and recover the bodies of flood victims.
*Administration Team of the Year was awarded to the Employee, Health and Wellness( EHW) unit. The EHW unit played a leading role in designing and monitoring the organisation’s Covid-19 protocols.
*Family Violence, Child Protection, Sexual Offences Investigations (FCS) unit team of the year was awarded to the King Williams Town FCS unit in the Eastern Cape. In the 2021/2022 financial year, the team arrested a total of 314 suspects for FCS related crimes including sexual related crimes. They also secured nine life sentences and an additional 322 imprisonment sentences.
*Reservist of the Year was awarded to Reservist Constable Venter who is attached to the Western Cape Flying Squad. During the2021/2022 financial year, the member affected 76 arrests, seized 17 vehicles and 11 firearms.
*Community Police Forum (CPF) of the year award was awarded to the Bethelsdorp CPF in the Eastern Cape. The CPF conducts regular meetings, and they are actively involved in the prevention of crime by recruiting community blue patrollers.
*Best station of the year was awarded to the Chatsworth Police Station in KwaZulu-Natal. They had a 100% conviction rate for crimes committed against women and children.