The South African Police Service (SAPS) has paid tribute to K9 Mufasa, who succumbed to an aggressive form of cancer on Monday.
The nine-year-old Rottweiler who died at a veterinary hospital in Walmer in the Eastern Cape was described as a loyal and valiant companion who protected communities.
Speaking on his death, provincial police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said: “We honour the memory of K9 Mufasa, who worked his final shift before ‘calling’ it a day.”
She said Mufasa had been fighting crime alongside his “human buddy” warrant officer Damian Theron for six years.
“He had demonstrated remarkable bravery and a heart filled with love.”
Speaking on his accomplishments, Naidu said Mufasa graduated in 2016 from the Roodeplaat K9 Academy with his first trainer, Sergeant Thembile Gaba.
“In March 2017, when Sergeant Gaba was shot and injured, Mufasa was re-assigned to warrant officer Theron, who worked with him until his untimely demise.
“Up until his last night shift, which was on November 2, 2023, Mufasa was actively chasing after suspects all over the metro.
“A true hero, a loyal companion, and a dedicated officer who served our communities with unwavering devotion.”
Naidu said that despite being diagnosed with cancer in June this year, Mufasa was still deemed fit for work.
In paying tribute to his colleague, Theron described Mufasa as a “true hero” — one with four legs and an unwavering dedication to the SAPS.
“Mufasa was not just a member of the SAPS; he was family. He patrolled our streets alongside me and tackled the most challenging tasks with an enthusiasm that was truly extraordinary.
“Through long nights and challenging situations, his short, stumped, wagging tail and steadfast commitment never wavered.
“His journey was not without hardships, as cancer struck, a battle he faced with the same determination he showed in every other aspect of his service. He worked tirelessly until his last day, giving his all for the safety and wellbeing of our community,” concluded Theron.
Naidu said Mufasa was laid to rest on Tuesday morning at the K9 unit in Forest Hills in a sombre gathering attended by his handler and fellow officers.
“As we say goodbye to our dear colleague, we remember the sacrifices he made, the lives he touched, and the bravery he embodied. The legacy of Mufasa, like his four-legged colleagues who had gone before him, will continue to inspire us all.”