Honouring those who served us

Pertunia Ratsatsi

Pertunia Ratsatsi

The South African Police Service hosted their yearly commemoration in honour of their members who died on duty at SAPS Memorial, Union Buildings, yesterday.

At this year's ceremony 142 police officers, who were either murdered or died in car crashes while on duty between January last year and March, were honoured.

The service was attended by 1000 uniformed police officers and 500 family members of the dead policemen and women.

Pain was lined the faces of the families' as they walked through a guard of honour formed by police officers to lay wreaths at the memorial site.

Safety and Security Deputy Minister Magda Stander, National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi and Tshwane executive mayor Gwen Ramokgopa were among the first to lay wreaths.

One of the grieving family members was Stanley Schoeman. His son was killed while he was working at a police station in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg.

Schoeman's son Inspector Berg Schoeman was one of the four police officers killed during a shoot-out with criminals in Jeppestown, Johannesburg, in May last year.

"My heart breaks every time I see a police officer in uniform. There is nothing anyone can do to bring my son back, but it's during events like these when my family and I feel that the government is on our side. My son dedicated 12 years of his life to serve and protect the people of this country and I am glad the commissioner took this day to remember my son and his colleagues," Schoeman said.

Terreza Sikhwari, 32, from Protea Glen in Soweto lost her husband Solomon, 38, who was attached to the Lenasia police station.

Solomon was about to arrest five people a few metres away from the police station where he worked, when he was shot and killed.

"I still don't believe that he is gone. It is very painful for me to talk about his death. I just choose to remember him as a good father to my two children and a loving husband," the grieving widow said.

Sikhwari said that she still did not have all the details regarding her husband's death.

She said: "It is very difficult to explain to my children what happened to their father."