The South African Police Service and the Word of Life Worship House Church held an event to celebrate the lives of police officers who were killed in the line of duty and to honour their families.
The event was held at the Luyolo Hall in Gugulethu on Saturday August 12 and started off in a sombre mood which lightened up later.
It allowed the family and friends of fallen officers from different police stations in the Nyanga Cluster the opportunity to come together in one place.
Families were supported in their grief by pastors who prayed for them and the police’s top officials.
Various speakers relayed memories they had of the late police men and women.
The event’s organiser, Reverend Zukiswa Buwe from the church, told the families never to give up because God loves them.
She called on churches to give a helping hand and support the families, especially widows of the fallen heroes.
“One of the reasons we are doing this is to say back off from our policemen. We have to celebrate the lives of the fallen not because we want to open up old wounds, but to show that we care and love them. We want to assure them that there is life after death,” she said.
Speaking to Vukani after the event, some of the families of police officials supported the plans for a campaign to assist the widows and orphans who lost family members.
The families said there are serious issues that need to be addressed. The family members spoke up about their ongoing struggles. They expressed frustration with the way things are going but are hopeful after the event was held to honour them.
Thanduxolo Charlie, who represented the Kgogong family, said he was happy that the South African Police Service still cares for its former members. But he said a lot still needed to be done to compensate the families.
“There should be a plan to assist families or a campaign by residents to say enough is enough. Society should rise up against the individuals who are killing police officials. We are many and the criminals are few but we are not taking that advantage. It is painful to lose a family member who dedicated his or her life in protecting the nation and yet nothing is being done,” he told Vukani.
Gugulethu police station commander Brigadier Luyanda Damoyi said it pained him and other members that they had lost many good men and women in the war against crime.
He assured the families that SAPS would always be with them. “Wherever there is a challenge do not doubt to knock on our doors. These were good men and women. I must say no one would deter us from protecting the nation,” he said. He said the families need to accept the loss of their loved ones. He said as police they share the grief with the families.
Brigadier Damoyi called for partnerships to fight the scourge of crime. Captain Ayanda Jacobs, a chaplain who worked with most of the families during their bereavement, also called on society to host more campaigns condemning the killing of police.
She reiterated that police would never abandon the families and would always support them in every situation.