‘Hum­ble hero’ cop mourned

The Star Late Edition - - NEWS - RAPULA MOATSHE

FAM­ILY, friends and col­leagues came out in num­bers yes­ter­day to pay their last re­spects to Soshanguve po­lice of­fi­cer Sergeant Philimon Sibiya, who was shot dead by uniden­ti­fied men last Fri­day.

At the memo­rial ser­vice at Gi­ant Sta­dium, Sibiya was de­scribed by mourn­ers as a leader, hero and hum­ble per­son.

Soshanguve po­lice sta­tion com­man­der Colonel Christo Pi­eterse said he ap­pre­ci­ated Sibiya for his ded­i­ca­tion and hard work.

“Three weeks be­fore he was shot, he re­cov­ered a hi­jacked ve­hi­cle and a stolen firearm at around the same place where he was killed,” Pi­eterse said.

When he was killed, Sibiya was in the com­pany of his col­league Con­sta­ble Vic­tor Mam­puru, who was also shot and se­ri­ously in­jured. Mam­puru is still re­cu­per­at­ing in hospi­tal.

The two po­lice­men were at­tacked af­ter they had stopped a ve­hi­cle dur­ing a stop-and-search op­er­a­tion on Ruth First Av­enue.

“They were both shot while on duty, busy pro­tect­ing us,” said Pi­eterse.

Sibiya joined the po­lice sta­tion in 2012.

Yes­ter­day, his col­league Con­sta­ble John Slen­der said: “I started work­ing with Sibiya at the crime preven­tion unit last Novem­ber, where he was the leader of the unit.”

Slen­der de­scribed Sibiya as a hum­ble per­son, who was al­ways co-op­er­a­tive.

“As his col­leagues, we were still hop­ing to gain more from him as our leader,” he said.

Rel­a­tive Jo­hannes Mo­soma said the fam­ily had lost a son who was trusted and re­li­able. “We were still hop­ing to ben­e­fit more from him as our son.”

He ex­pressed ap­pre­ci­a­tion to Sibiya’s col­leagues who had or­gan­ised the memo­rial ser­vice.

Com­mu­ni­ties were en­cour­aged to be part of the fight against crime by join­ing struc­tures such as the com­mu­nity polic­ing fo­rums.

Po­lice and Pris­ons Civil Rights Union shop stew­ard Malose Seanego used the oc­ca­sion to lament a lack of care and sup­port for po­lice of­fi­cers.

He said the union had ear­lier called for an up­grade of Soshanguve po­lice sta­tion be­cause it was too small to po­lice the com­mu­nity.

He sup­ported the call by new Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula that war­rant of­fi­cers and po­lice cap­tains should join con­sta­bles on crime-bust­ing op­er­a­tions.

‘They were shot on duty, busy pro­tect­ing us’

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