The family of Sergeant David Hoffman was shot and killed last year. Picture: Sisonke Mlamla/Cape Argus
The family of Sergeant David Hoffman was shot and killed last year. Picture: Sisonke Mlamla/Cape Argus

Courage of slain Western Cape police officers remembered

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Sep 7, 2020

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Cape Town - Fallen police officers and reservists were remembered during an emotional wreath-laying ceremony at different venues around the country at the weekend.

Because of Covid-19 regulations, the traditional send-off held by the national police could not be held at the weekend.

The names of the 39 police officers and one reservist who died in the line of duty have been inscribed on the National Memorial Wall at the South African Police Memorial in Pretoria.

In the Western Cape, the ceremony paid homage to seven officers – warrant officer Charl Meyer and constable Nceba Kolina both died in May last year; sergeant Donavon Prins was shot and killed in June last year; constable Songezo Khethiwe was shot and killed in July last year; sergeant David Hoffman was killed in August last year; warrant officer Hilton Joseph was killed in September last year; and Thando Singcu was shot and killed in January.

Joseph’s son Keanu, 20, said after the death of his father, it had been very hard for his family. “It has been affecting me physically and mentally, but these memorial services has shown me how credible and honourable my father was to the community,” he said.

Khethiwe’s brother, Masithembe, and his sister, Portia, said they had been struggling after the death of their brother, who was the breadwinner of the family.

“Now we would appreciate any kind of job from anyone. The death of my brother has caused pain in my family, we have been sleeping with empty stomachs and stress of what we are going to eat the next day,” Masithembe said.

Family of sergeant Songezo Khethiwe who was shot and killed in the head in Delft. Picture: Sisonke Mlamla/Cape Argus

Deputy Provincial Police Commissioner, Major-General Mpumelelo Manci, said the brave men and women “whom we commemorate were the kind that served and protected all the people of this province without fear or favour”.

Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said families of slain police officers were subjected to poverty as most officers were breadwinners and young.

Mamabolo said post-traumatic stress disorder was rife within the service, with Covid-19 pandemic seeing 113 officers dead, with 1 500 infections thus far.

“This points out to the fact that the police management has not been doing enough to protect its members, but only wants to value them when they are deceased,” he said.

During his address at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Deputy President David Mabuza said it remained of serious concern that police officers were killed by suspects resisting arrest while responding to complaints, effecting arrests, in stop-and-search operations, and in vehicle accidents.

Mabuza said it was disturbing that police officers were sometimes murdered for their firearms. “As we know, criminal elements thereafter use these stolen firearms to commit serious and violent crimes. Without question, these were dedicated professionals who were willing to place themselves in the line of duty, in order to ensure that every citizen of our country and all those within our borders are safe from harm,” he said.

Mabuza said their dedication made them feel secure in the knowledge that the government was taking care of the well-being and safety of all people, black and white.

Cape Argus

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