Deceased police officers who died on duty remembered for their service in Pretoria

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Thirty-three police officers who died in the line of duty in the last financial year were honoured for their courage and dedication.

An annual National Commemoration Day was held in their remembrance at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

President Cyril Ramaphosa accompanied by Police Minister, Bheki Cele and the families of the deceased families in honouring police officers and reservists who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Wreath laying at SAPS Commemoration Day

The police officers were killed between the April 1st 2021-March 31st 2022.

It was a somber and yet befitting tribute to the fallen men and women in blue who lost their lives in fighting crime.

As the trumpet sounded, families and relatives bowed their heads while others wiped away tears – as they remembered their loved ones.

The majority of the officers died while responding to criminal acts while others were killed by speeding motorists while performing crime prevention operations on roads.

The youngest victim- Constable, Atlehang Nkgoeng (28) was shot when he and a colleague stopped a vehicle with no registration number. He succumbed to his injuries. His aunt, Lizzy says she finds it difficult forgetting him.

So much pain

“Every time when I go to work, I pass the spot where he was killed, and I would find myself looking and remembering him. This causes me more pain.”

Lieutenant Colonel, Jabulane Ndawonde was the acting station commander of Ndwedwe police station in Kwazulu-Natal. The married father of 5, left home for work on May 24th last year and that was the last time his family saw him alive.

While driving to work unknown suspects drove past him and then opened fire at his vehicle killing him. His wife, Thandazile says her husband loved his community, family, and his job.

She elaborates, “But the same community, the same people he was protecting are the ones who did this. The children cry every day. The other one has just graduated and cries daily saying if daddy was here, I would not be sitting at home – he would have done something because he loved his children.”

Selfless individual

Captain Pierre Marx, from the East London K9 unit in the Eastern Cape went beyond the call of duty in search of those who had drowned in rivers and dams.  In January this year – he died while performing search and rescue operations in the Nahoon River.

His lifeless body was found under water with a rope entangled around his foot. His wife, Martley Marx – who too is a police officer, says he put other people’s lives before his own.

“He rescued somebody; he got entangled in a rope that was attached to the trees. He sacrificed his life for somebody he did not know – that is an honour. He was my husband, but also a colleague because we were both in the organisation. Ja…we were best to have him in our lives.” Marx adds.

Police Minister, Bheki Cele says the 33 police members paid the ultimate price in pursuit of a safer South Africa.

“We come together to celebrate their dedication and their zeal as first line responders. The day has come to commend our fallen colleagues for staying true and committed to the mandate of the South African Police Service (SAPS). To all the guests, I trust that you will find today’s arrangements and proceedings, conducive to your personal comfort healing and satisfaction.”