Pretoria - Judith Mafafo, 21, the daughter of a police official who died while on duty, could hardly string a sentence together when she spoke of the pain of losing her father in 2014. She explained that her father, Captain Alpheus Mafafo, was killed in a car chase with criminals. He had been a police officer for 20 years.
“The most upsetting thing is that he was not even supposed to be at work that day. However, due to the nature of his work and how demanding it was, he was called to go, and he never returned home.”
Mafafo, from Mamelodi, was speaking during a police anti-killing awareness campaign at Giant Stadium in Soshanguve on Tuesday. The event was hosted by the SAPS in response to the increasing number of police murders and attacks, which “undermine the integrity of the state”. Mafafo is a beneficiary of the SAPS Education Trust, which financially supports children whose parents were killed or died on duty.
The Tshwane University of Technology operational management student said they never thought the job her father was passionate about would rob him of his life.
“To us as a family, he was not Captain Mafafo; he was our father, our provider, and our caregiver. So it was not easy to accept that he was no longer with us. Had he been a carpenter he would still be alive today but he chose to work for this country but the same job he was so passionate about took him away. He always told me to work hard, just like him, and save and serve people. He made it seem like being a police officer was cool but I never saw myself as a police officer."
His death raised a concern of “how will I achieve whatever he had dreamed of for me", she said. Although she had never planned to work as a police officer, Mafafo said she would be one should she be taken on permanently at the SAPS, where she is currently an intern.
The event was attended by officials, other religious organisations and the Soshanguve community. It aimed to break the silence when a police official was murdered, and to mobilise this community and others to show their outrage and concern. The day unfolded in three phases, during which an orphanage was visited, and operational activities were conducted.
SAPS human resource management’s General Lineo Ntshiea said: “We felt the need to involve the community in an effort to add a voice as a social responsibility structure and to ensure that our communities work together to protect one another. They must not work against our police officials who have been appointed to protect the vulnerable from criminality Problems in our communities can only be addressed and solved if we all take responsibility for it,” she said.
Ntshiea encouraged community members to report any police killings or any form of criminality, “to bring an end to the slaughter’.