'Men always feel superior', says top Metro Cop

Constantly being disrespected and undermined is a common feature for a woman in a leadership position. This is according to Insp Emmaculate Phakoane, an officer in the Johannesburg Metro Police Department. Phakoane, who has been an officer for 19 years, said working through the Covid-19 pandemic has added pressure on the dynamics of their work. "Men always feel superior, they are thick-skinned and for you to be able to do your job, you need to have a thick skin and know how to toe the line," Phakoane said. "You can't get emotional. These issues are there every day but you have to learn how to separate your feelings from work."She said those stresses are compounded by her own fears and anxieties pertaining to the pandemic and those that are exhibited by her colleagues. "It's worse now because we have this virus, it increases people's stress levels and anxieties. In my position, I have to manage that and ensure that we all take the necessary precautions," she said. The mother of one said she often fears contracting the virus and taking it home to her 17-year-old daughter. "I try by all means to do everything in my power to make sure that I do not catch it. I wear a mask, I sanitise, I take medication in the form of vitamins and immune boosters. I had a Covid scare recently when I came into contact with two officers in my shift who had tested positive. But luckily I tested negative, so I was relieved after they [results] came out," she said. Phakoane started her career modestly after working as a cashier at a licensing department in 1996. "I heard that there were openings for metro police officers in 2001, so I applied and was accepted. I worked hard and was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2005. Ten years later I was promoted to being an inspector," she said. Phakoane explained that she enjoyed every aspect of her job despite the challenges.

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