Police honour officers’ wives

Sergeant Jacques Groenewald welcomes Pumeza Vanto as she arrives at the Womens Day event at Kraaifontein police station. On the left is Sergeant Siyabulela Webu.

Zanelle Davis has many sleepless nights worrying about her police officer husband, Graham, while he is on duty.

“When I hear shooting outside, I worry, ‘Is my husband going to come home?’ but it makes a woman feel good when you know your husband does something for the community. You feel proud,” she said.

Zanelle, of Scottsville, has two young sons, aged 6 and 1. Her eldest, Zhandre, also wants to be a police officer.

“He looks up to his dad,” she said.

Rochelle Matthee can relate to Zanelle’s fears. Six years ago, her husband, Warrant Officer Gershwin Matthee, 49, did not come home from work.

He and student policeman Cannon Cloete, 23, were shot and killed while responding to a rape case in Kraaifontein.

Rochelle said she and her husband had met at college and it had been love at first sight. She is thankful for the time she had with him.

“Hy het ’* baie groot impak gehad op Kraaifontein – hy het sy lewe gegee vir Kraaifontein,” she said.

The time since his death has been hard but she is grateful for the support of her extended family, especially her sister-in-law, Josephine Phillips.

Josephine is also a police officer. She holds the rank of captain. Last year, she was transferred to Kraaifontein station – a transition that had been very emotional, she said. The first few days had been especially hard.

For a while, she was known only as Gershwin’s sister.

“Dit was ’* groot aanpassing om hier to begin werk,” said Josephine.

Zanelle, Rochelle and Josephine were among the many policewomen and police officers’ wives who were honoured at a Women’s Day event at Kraaifontein police station on Wednesday August 9.

It was the third such event at the station in three years, said one of the organisers, Sergeant Rizillia Kortje. The first year, the group which became the organising committee went out on a special patrol and arrested only male suspects.

The group, known as the “druggies” within the station because theyinvestigatedrug-related crimes, decided to spoil victims of crime the second year.

“Last year, we went a bit bigger,” Sergeant Kortje said, explaining that victims of crime had been treated to pamper sessions and brunch at the station.

This year the committee decided to treat the wives of the officers at the station.

Station commander Brigadier Gerda van Niekerk said she had been “blown away” when she heard what the committee had planned this year.

“This is to say thank you,” she said.

Thank you for your support. Without your support the members can’t perform as they need to. If they are worrying about what’s happening at home, they can’t perform out there to protect the community.”