A SHINY pair of handmade red boxing boots and a punching bag were placed on the coffin of Michael Volkwyn as his family laid him to rest yesterday.
The 61-year-old’s death last Wednesday was the culmination of a stand-off with the police, which started last Tuesday when Constable Leeroy Scott was shot in the face.
Scott was one of the police officers who accompanied the SPCA to Volkwyn’s house in Albermarle Street, Hazendal, in response to a complaint made by his tenant, who said his dogs had attacked her.
Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said Scott was still recovering in hospital and the police were investigating a charge of attempted murder.
Yesterday, Volkwyn’s friends and family paid their last respects to him at the Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Lansdowne.
Volkwyn had been an avid boxer and his niece, Mary-Anne Wakefield, said her uncle had made the boots himself.
“He took up boxing as hobby when he was a young man and he loved it. He lost a match one day because his boots were too slippery,” said Wakefield.
Lenny Gentle, who was Volkwyn’s friend, said he had been a good man whose life had been tormented.
“He endured a lot of disappointment and because of that he had a critical eye for justice, and he distrusted politicians. Michael loved, loved boxing and because of apartheid, and there not being many opportunities for coloured people, he was not able to get ahead with it on a professional level.”
Volkwyn’s sister, Diana Williams, wanted her brother to be remembered as a gentle giant. “When I phoned Roy on the morning of the siege, I said ‘Roy, we have come to an end. Michael is going to die, today’. His words were: ‘Diana, we both know that Michael will never surrender this time. It must take great courage to take such a stand’.”
On the night of the siege, Volkwyn’s brother Roy flew to Cape Town from Johannesburg in an attempt to get him to surrender. He negotiated with his brother for about two hours, but he wasn’t able to convince him.
Volkwyn died on Wednesday morning when the police stormed his house. It was reported that he first shot one of his dogs before pulling the trigger on himself.
The family has laid a complaint with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) because they want to know exactly what happened when their brother died.
Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini confirmed that the directorate had received a complaint. “I am not in a position to answer (questions) until an investigation has been conducted,” Dlamini said.