Fallen women and men in blue honoured

Sunday, September 3, 2017

On 21 July 2016, Constable BG Mogapi said his final goodbye to his wife as he left for work, promising her he would return at 6am the following day, little did he know that it was the last time he would see her.

“As he left for work, he kissed me on the forehead and told me he loved me. When he didn’t return the next day, I started panicking and made some calls. Someone came to the house and informed me that he had been shot. The one thing that I will always remember is his last words that he loves me,” Mogapi’s wife Nthatise told SAnews.

Constable Mogapi was among the 40 police honoured during the South African Police Service (SAPS) National Day of Commemoration ceremony held on Sunday at the Union Buildings.

The annual event honours SAPS members who lost their lives in the line of duty, between 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.

Constable BG Mogapi, aged 32 served the organization for seven years, was shot and killed on 21 July 2016, while attending to a complaint at an FNB ATM in Hartbeesfontein.  

He left behind his wife Nthatise, aged 25, with three children -- a six-year-old daughter and two-year-old twins, boy and a girl.

Nthatise said since the death of her husband, she is struggling to take care of the children as Mogapi was the bread winner.

During the ceremony, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, as well as Acting National Commissioner Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba laid wreaths on behalf of government and the Police Department.

The next of kin of the deceased could not hold back tears as they also laid wreaths. They were assisted by SAPS Chaplains and members of the Employee Health and Wellness.

In his address, Deputy President Ramaphosa saluted the brave women and men, who paid the ultimate price for their determination to keep South Africa safe.

“On this day, as we remember those brave men and women, as we salute them, we think with great anguish of the great loss suffered by those who were near them. We can only imagine the agony of recollecting that morning, that day or that night when loved ones left home to serve and protect, never to return,” the Deputy President said.

He added that the day was not only about loss, memory and sacrifice, but it’s was also about legacy and making sure that those who died didn’t die in vain.

“It is about making sure that we realise their dreams to rid our country of crime and banditry. It’s about ensuring that no other child is left orphaned by criminals. It is about acknowledging that one life lost is one too many, and to fully appreciate that we have to equip, train and allow our members to defend themselves,” the Deputy President said.

Police challenged to rid SA of crime

He also challenged the police officers to take over the baton left off and ensure that they bring the perpetrators of crime to book, and ensure a safe and secure South Africa for all.

“In their memory, in their honour, take your place, stake your claim and win the fight against crime. Take back our streets and communities and rid them of crime. Bring criminals to justice and ensure that no person is beyond the long arm of the law.”

He thanked the families for the ultimate price they have paid to keep other families safe.

“We are thankful for the strange mercy that by you losing your loved one, we can continue with the gift of life. Yours is the greatest love for all, to ask not what your country can do for you but to give everything and life for your country,” he said.

Trust for children of bereaved

Minister Mbalula announced that the department will revive a trust to ensure that the children of the bereaved go to school.

He also announced that he and Deputy Minister Bongani Mkongi will publicly wear the blue uniform to state it loudly that the uniform is not an enemy.

“I shall wear the uniform to show solidarity with all the widows and widowers. The uniform should not be seen as an enemy, your uniform represent shelter from harm. The uniform represents the first responders when humans are in great need,” Minister Mbalula said.

Lieutenant General Mothiba said September has been declared National Police Safety Month. He said intense internal awareness campaigns will continue to increase safety awareness among employees and highlight measures to reduce attacks on and the murder of police officials. – SAnews.gov.za

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