EAST LONDON – The King Phalo Airport was abuzz with ululation and dancing sounds, as the SAPS Management in the Eastern Cape descended to East London to give a hero’s welcome to one of their own Brigadier Vimla Moodley on Saturday afternoon, in the Buffalo City Metro Municipality.
Brigadier Moodley is the Provincial Head for Police Emergency Services (PES) which is responsible for K-9, Divers and Mounted Units in the Eastern Cape. She was assigned by the SAPS management to lead a South African K-9 Search and Rescue (SAR) team which was deployed to Turkiye on the 9th February 2023, after the devastating earthquake which claimed thousands of lives and left many families without shelter.
Multitudes of colleagues and family members converged at King Phalo Airport to welcome Brigadier Moodley who landed at 16:45 to re-join her colleagues and the family. In her brief welcoming address in a VIP Lounge offered by the Airport for this purpose, the Deputy Provincial Commissioner for Policing, Major General Thandiswa Kupiso described the atmosphere and the experience of meeting the Senior Officer as “remarkable and overwhelming.”
“This is a moment we have been waiting for, and we are excited at the opportunity to meet such a phenomenal and courageous woman who fearlessly led the South African Team to Turkey. She has put our country and in particular the Province of the Legends on the global map. Brigadier Moodley is our ambassador who has proven to all of us that the Eastern Cape has treasures which must benefit South Africa and the nations of the world.
We are grateful to her family for allowing her to accept the assignment we gave her in order to serve other nations,” Major General Kupiso said.
In an emotional response to the hero’s welcome, Brigadier Moodley expressed her gratitudes to the Provincial Commissioner of the Eastern Cape for trusting her with such a huge and noble responsibility within the South African Police Service. On the day of her departure, the Brigadier was surprised by the Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mene who promoted her to a rank of a Brigadier. This became a catalyst and had built more confidence and eagerness to Brigadier Moodley, who described the international assignment for search and rescue as a divine plan to benefit and give hope to the people of the disaster stricken Turkiye.
“I must say it is good to be back to my home country and in particular the Eastern Cape Province. More humbling for me is to be trusted with such a huge responsibility by the SAPS management. Leading a South African team to a country that has experienced a devastating earthquake of such magnitude, is something I cannot take for granted in my whole life. The truth is that the people of that country have suffered immensely and more work will have to be done in order to help them find closure from the horrible scene and experiences of losing thousands of their loved ones in a catastrophic earthquake. Those of us who are still fortunate to live without such terrific circumstances, must draw lessons to appreciate life and thank God for the gift of life. It is really good to join my family again”. Brigadier Moodley concluded.
Source: South African Police Service