EASTERN CAPE – What began as a solemn and mournful gathering turned into a frenzy of song and dance in memory of four SAPS employees during a Mass Memorial service that was held at Mthatha SAPS Training Academy today, 06 May 2021.

The service was in honour of four SAPS employees who passed on after a tragic accident at Engcobo on the morning of Sunday 25 April 2021. Four Eastern Cape police namely Cst Buqaqawuli Nyembezi, Cst Lungelo Nogqala, Cst Mkhuseli Lila and Secretary Ntombikayise Landu all from Alfred Nzo District were traveling home from Ngcobo on official duty when they lost their lives on that day.

National Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele who led some of the songs in memory of the four patriots said memorial services should be a song and dance and not about speeches and philosophy. “We choose songs to wash away pain,” he said.

The Minister of Police was joined by the family and relatives of the deceased, Nation Commissioner of Police – General Khehla Sitole, Deputy National Commissioner : Policing – Lt Gen Sindile Mfazi, Eastern Cape MEC for Transport Safety and Liaison – Mrs Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, Head of Department-Transport and Safety – Mr Vuyani Mapolisa, Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner – Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga and her Management, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Chief of Police – Ms Yolanda Faro, CPF Provincial Chairperson – Mr Velani Mbiza Gola and mourners from different corners of Eastern Cape.

Minister Cele comforting the family and mourners said police management have descended to join the mourners at Mthatha Saps Training Academy because Saps knew the deceased very well. “The fact that we are here means we knew them, we worked and travelled together. The fact that they are draped in national flag on their last days means that they are national heroes.”

Addressing concerns about Gender Based Violence (GBV) Minister Cele said it is unfortunate that Lusikisiki has overtaken Inanda with high numbers of reported incidents of GBV. “This means the work that was began by these fallen patriots need to be sustained.”

He also used this opportunity to address men to stop looking at women as subhuman people who needed ‘men’s protection.’ “Women don’t need protection but men need to give women their space. The President has pronounced GBV as the second pandemic, this shows how serious this GBV challenge has become.”

The Minister of Police and National Commissioner laid some wreaths for the four patriots who died on the call of duty at Mthatha SAPS Training Academy and this will be a site that will be visited annually to remember these brave young and vibrant patriots who gave all to their country.

National Commissioner General Sitole said when these members died they were busy implementing with Section 205 of Act 106 of South African Constitution that deals with prevention, combating and investigation crime as well as serving our people. “This makes us proud. We have requested each to have an official funeral and Provincial Commissioner is busy with that mandate.” National Commissioner promised that SAPS will do their best to assist and support the affected families and implored the affected families to make a submission to SAPS Education Trust fund for educational support of the children of deceased.

“Tomorrow our dearly departed will be happy to know that we are supporting those loved ones left behind by deceased.” He also promised to provide counseling for two young children affected and all the families.

Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner who had been visiting all families of affected recalled how this unfortunate vehicle accident happened while these members were working hard under the young and dynamic leadership of Junior Management Core (JMC) busy with Gender Based Violence rollout through operations and awareness campaigns at Chris Hani District rural towns of Cofimvaba and Engcobo. The intervention is aimed to cover all affected areas in Eastern Cape since fighting GBV has become a government and presidential priority.

“We have lost enormously from the day of this accident but today we are saying these young people have served the South African Police with distinction as a result all their coffins will be draped with the national flag as a patriotic gesture for their efforts,” said Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga.

Cst Buqaqawuli Nyembezi has already been laid to his final resting place at Ndakeni, Mt Ayliff on 2 May 2021. The other three funerals will take place next Saturday, Sunday and Monday respectively.

Mec Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe took this opportunity to also express gratitude for the extension of term of office for Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga with two years by the Premier of EasternCape. “That extension will have a meaning at Eastern Cape Saps and can continue until it is changed by the next successor.” She also thanked all families for welcoming police with open hands, support and allowing their children to work as police.”

Brigadier Thobela Mjali who was leading the operations was lost for words said the messages received have strengthened all affected in this difficult times. He consoled families and mourners with a verse from Psalm 147 that reads as follows, “He heals the broken hearted and binds their wounds.”

Other messages of support were received from union and organization representatives like POPCRU, SAPU, Women’s Network, Men for Change and Community Police Forum.

Mr Velani Gola-Mbiza who is Community Police Forum Provincial Chairperson thanked all in attendance including Minister Cele who,”traveled the full length of our province to attend every Police incident.” He also thanked the CPF members who were very quick to respond when the incident happen.

Relatives of deceased remembered the four four different reasons. Cst Buqaqawuli Nyembezi was remembered him as a joker who made everyone happy within the family and a hardworking member who will leave a big vacuum in the Mt Ayliff station and his district.

Cst Lungelo Nogqala was remembered for being a devout Christian who always led every action he took with a prayer and always finished what he started.

Mr Lila speaking about his third born son Cst Mkhuseli Lila remembered his son as a refined and respectful man. “When he left l was emotionally disturbed but through the prayers and visits, as the family they are finding comfort. He was also grateful for the ministry and Minister Cele.

Landu family representative remembered Ntombikayise Landu as a child who loved her mother very much and her demise a great loss to all her family members including Saps family.

Source: South African Police Service

News Reporter