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Cape Town - Constable Hazel Jako, who was knocked down while trying to apprehend a suspected car thief in Strand on Monday night, died in front of her life and work partner, Constable Thanduxolo Mbonyane.
The couple, who lived together in Kenilworth, had just celebrated the birth of a baby girl, and Jako, 35, had recently returned to work from maternity leave.
Just after 6pm on Monday, while on patrol together as members of the Maitland Flying Squad, Jako and Mbonyane were directed to the scene of a car chase that was under way.
On Broadway Road, they saw a Renault Clio being pursued by other police vehicles.
The Clio changed lanes and came charging directly at Jako’s vehicle, said Mbonyane
“I shouted for her to get out, because I could see that a crash was imminent,” Mbonyane said tearfully.
“Both she and I did. But she faced the car and signalled for it to stop.”
The car slammed into Jako and the police vehicle from which she had emerged.
Her body was flung through the air and she died on the scene.
Police arrested the 28-year-old driver on charges of murder and reckless and negligent driving.
The Flying Squad’s Captain Glen Adams described Jako as one of the most dedicated and polite members in the squad.
“She was special and contributed to many major successes that the squad has had in recent months,” he said.
“It was her compassionate and trusting way with people that really set her apart. She could connect with informants in a way that few other officers manage to do. It was this that meant she could get the leads that would eventually turn into high-profile arrests and policing successes.”
Adams recalled a drug bust that came as a result of a tip-off Jako had received.” She phoned me up and said: ‘Captain, can I get a search warrant for this address?’ It was granted, and when we got there we could hardly believe our eyes.
“We confiscated one of the biggest quantities of compressed dagga I had seen in a while. What’s more, paper work at the address, showing bank transfers to Tanzania, helped us bring down an entire drug syndicate.”
At work, Jako was humorous, respectful of her colleagues and kind.
Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer extended his condolences to Jako’s family on Tuesday.
“Her commitment to fighting crime in South Africa will always be remembered,” Lamoer said.
“We remain indebted to her for the selflessness she demonstrated in executing her duties.”
Jako is also survived by a 14-year-old son.