News24.com | ‘The loss is just too much’

News24.com | ‘The loss is just too much’

Tshwane Metro Police officers during the memorial service of three police officers who were killed in an accident involving a suspected drunk driver.

Tshwane Metro Police officers during the memorial service of three police officers who were killed in an accident involving a suspected drunk driver.

Phill Magakoe, Gallo Images

  • Three officers died while providing backup after a vehicle driven by an alleged drunk driver was spotted driving recklessly in the Pretoria CBD.
  • They will be buried in Limpopo this weekend.
  • “They died with their boots on,” deputy TMPD chief Umashi Dhlamini said during a memorial service.

“We lost our children because of someone who was drunk. It is so sad.”

These were the words of one of the family representatives of the three Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) officers who were killed in a head-on collision with a suspected drunk driver over the weekend.

On Wednesday, the TMPD held a memorial service at its headquarters in Pretoria to bid farewell to their fallen soldiers Silas Marisane Phala, 43, Ndiimafhi Edward Phaduli, 37, and Khathutshelo Mukwevho, 30.

The officers lost their lives while chasing a driver around 02: 00 on Sunday.

They had been called as backup after the vehicle was spotted driving recklessly into oncoming traffic.

The alleged drunk driver was also killed in the crash. 

Today, I was with the families of Constable phaduli NE, Constable Mukwevho K, Constable Phala SM. Officers who died in the line of duty.I am deeply saddened by the untimely passing. We thank them for their service to the nation and commend them for their bravery. pic.twitter.com/HWQAd7gnwo

— Minister of Transport |Mr Fix (@MbalulaFikile) August 24, 2020

Family, friends and colleagues could not hold back the tears during the emotional service.

Top officials of the Road Traffic Management Corporation and TMPD chiefs were also in attendance.

“When we heard about this, we were worried about our mother but the message from her was that ‘I have accepted’. She knows that he loved his job,” Phaduli’s brother-in-law, Azwitamisi Mudau, said.

READ HERE | 48 killed on Eastern Cape roads since move to level 2

He said the family found solace in their brother dying in the line of duty and said his colleagues should not be discouraged by the incident but continue serving the people of Tshwane.

The officers were hailed for their dedication and courage to serve the city until their very last day.

Speaking on behalf of Phala’s family, Selelepoo Mashilo said it was difficult to accept that the deaths happened as a result of someone who was allegedly drunk.

“Just to share with you, when God created men, he gave us the wisdom of seeing what is good and what is bad. He said to humanity that if you do good, there is a reward. If you do bad things, you will face death. 

“Now we are all gathered here because of one person who has done something bad. Apparently this person was drunk. We lost our children because of someone who was drunk. It is so sad.”

READ HERE | Level 2: Govt concerned after 820 arrested in Gauteng at the weekend, many for drunk driving

TMPD chief Lieutenant General Johanna Nkomo said it hurt to lose three of her most dedicated staffers at once.

Struggling to hold back tears, the chief said: “The loss is just too much. If I feel [this way] for these kids, I cannot imagine how the families feel.” 

Deputy chief Umashi Dhlamini said the fact that the officers died while heeding a call for backup showed they were committed.

“They died with their boots on. They died with their uniform on. So it shows the dedication that your sons, uncles, fathers had in the department,” Dhlamini said.

READ | Accidents, arrests and deaths: South Africans booze it up under Level 2

Mukwevho’s brother, Aluwani Themeli, who is also in law enforcement and had trained the three officers, said the family was comforted by the support they received since hearing the news on Sunday.

“Our minds, hearts, our bodies, can’t take it anymore. It is very difficult,” Themeli said.

The funeral services of the officers will take place over the weekend at their respective homes in Limpopo. 

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