‘Humble hero’ cop mourned
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’