Hero cops go the extra mile for injured colleague
Durban - It looked ominous for a metro police dog-handler when nearly a dozen protesters surrounded him during last week’s violent scenes at the Quarry Road informal settlement in Reservoir Hills.
The officer had sustained a leg injury as law enforcement officials tried to restrain shack-dwellers who were venting their discontentment over poor service.
In spite of the volatility of the situation, three of his female colleagues from metro’s Public Order Policing unit fended off the attackers and carried him to safety.
According to Senior Superintendent Parbhoo Sewpersad, a metro police spokesperson, moves were afoot to provide constables Maria Ndimande, Thandeka Mkhize and Princess Ngidi with special commendation for their selfless actions to save a colleague.
Sewpersad said that although the constables had been on duty from the time trouble started, around 6am, they were still able to provide the appropriate response when the injured officer counted on their assistance that evening.
The officer was eventually carried to safety by Ndimande, while Ngidi and Mkhize kept the attackers at bay.
Given the frequency at which violent scenes play out on Durban streets especially in recent times, the trio of constables were well versed in the dynamics of crowd control.
But they are always mindful of the unexpected.
“You don’t take things for granted because protesters can never be trusted.You have to be prepared mentally and physically,” said Mkhize.
Ngidi said while they always adhered to their commander’s strategies, things seldom went according to plan, but their main objective was to always ensure the safety of people and property.
Ndimande said in their line of duty, irregular working hours was the norm, because communities constantly demanded safety and security.
Sewpersad said they had been stretched to the limit on the day of the protest as an informal traders’ march was also on the go in the CBD, and they needed to maintain a presence there.
But he commended the various metro units that worked long hours, which included patrols through the night, to restore calm in Reservoir Hills.
Sewpersad said their members had to do mopping-up duties afterwards to ensure both carriages of the M19 could reopen for traffic because the municipality’s clean-up teams were reluctant to respond.
He confirmed that the 25 people arrested and charged for public violence, had appeared at the Durban Magistrate’s court, but they were remanded until their next appearance this week.
Sewpersad said they had forged a good working relationship with the National Prosecuting Authority over the years, and were confident convictions would be achieved, which would serve as a warning to others.
One of the issues that hampered their work and caused panic in some communities was the unverified information shared by people on various group chats, said Sewpersad.
He appealed: “Please verify information before sending.”