JMPD Hero of 2018 Gerald Nxumalo is seen with City of Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba, Joburg metro police department chief David Tembe and Diageo Drive Dry campaign managing director Graeme Harlow.
Johannesburg - Metro police officer Gerald Nxumalo thought he was just doing his job by bringing to book drivers who don't adhere to the rules of the road.

Unbeknown to him, City of Joburg and  Drive Dry  were watching his impeccable work and recently awarded him the top performing Joburg Metro Police (JMPD) Department  Hero of 2018.

His efforts at keeping the streets safe earned him a brand-new Volkswagen Polo.

First and second runners-up Ismail Mgiba and Shumani Netshifume were rewarded with vouchers to the value of R15000 and R5000 respectively.

Drive Dry is a responsible-drinking initiative by global alcohol beverage company Diageo and aims to combat the abuse of alcohol on South African roads. As such, it has sponsored the prizes for the top officers this season.

“The JMPD has delivered great results in its attempt to reduce crime and drunk-driving incidents in Joburg this last year and it is our wish to support them," said Diageo corporate relations director Sibani Mngadi.

“We see this as the start of what we hope to be a long and fruitful partnership in our mutual quest to keep South African roads free of drunk drivers,” added Mngadi.

With road safety as the number one priority for both the JMPD and Drive Dry, especially during the festive season, the collaboration was put in place to ensure stringent law enforcement by rewarding officers who conduct themselves in a responsible and appropriate manner and who enforce the rules of the road and don’t take bribes.

“We cannot ensure the safety of our people on the roads by working alone," said JMPD chief David Tembe.

“It is through partnerships with private stakeholders like Diageo’s Drive Dry that we will be able to keep our communities safe and reduce the high number of alcohol-related road fatalities,” he added.

Some of the criteria used to assess the winners included the number of alcohol screenings they conducted over the year, which were used to determine whether drivers were above the legal limit.

Screenings included a breathalyser test and the collection of blood samples used as evidence for prosecution.

Officers were also assessed on their willingness to go beyond the call of duty, whether they appeared professional at all times, conducted themselves in a good manner, respected their work and that of their colleagues, used the JMPD resources responsibly, at no time accepted bribes from irresponsible road users and ensured that motorists did not consume alcohol or behave in a way that would put other people’s lives in danger.

Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba said the collaboration between private and public sector organisations was key to improving the safety and wellbeing of residents.

"We look forward to seeing the results of this partnership and a tougher outcome for those drivers who have no regard for the law or safety of others," Mashaba said.

The Star