Well done W/O Du Plessis, we need more like you
AS A parent of two daughters, aged 22 and 18, it touched my heart to read the report (Weekend Argus, December 24) about Mrs Dolores Cyster who found her daughter, Johnnica Bailey, after nearly two decades.
My heartfelt gratitude and appreciation goes to Warrant Officer Nicholas du Plessis of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit for solving the case. I agree with Western Cape Police Commissioner, Arno Lamoer, that we need more police officers who are still dedicated, especially after 25 years of service.
However, I need to ask: Are officers like Du Plessis a dying breed? I am perplexed about why it took so long for Johnnica to be found, considering that all the relevant information to assist with this investigation was at hand?
Is it once again a case of our police system failing the very people whom they are supposed to serve?
Clearly they failed the family of Mrs Cyster.
In the two years since the disappearance of her two-year-old daughter, she searched in hope. After travelling to Port Elizabeth, Mrs Cyster went to the police for help. She had all the information that was needed, including the address, names and dates.
What I find even more difficult to comprehend is that over the next 18 years she often went back to the police to make enquiries.
Why did it take 18 years for the police to find Mrs Cyster’s daughter? This calls for an investigation. I hope that Lamoer will apply his mind and ask some questions. I also urge the Community Policing Forum of Mitchells Plain to launch an investigation into why the police failed this family.
This kind of failure often happens in our communities. We have a critical shortage of Nicholas Du Plessis’s in our police stations. Why are the Nicholas du Plessis’s who apply their minds and see people as human beings, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters who walk into their stations or offices needing and hoping for help, in such short supply?
I am touched by Mrs Cyster’s dedication and persistence.
Often people do not realise that they have access to statuary bodies like the Department of Community Safety or the local branch of the Community Police Forum. These institutions are there to help them where they feel that the police failed them. I urge people to attend these local meetings and become involved in their community structures. It is in our best interests that we work together to avoid such failures.
This is clearly a case of police neglect and in my opinion, should be highlighted as such – something the reporter did not do.