VIP pro­tec­tion unit gath­ers out­side Madiba home in sup­port

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

MEM­BERS of the SA Po­lice Ser­vice VIP pro­tec­tion unit gath­ered out­side the Jo­hburg home of crit­i­cally-ill Nel­son Man­dela to of­fer mes­sages of sup­port yes­ter­day.

They were led in song by the di­vi­sion’s chap­lain Cap­tain Moses Sithebe, who asked that peace be upon the anti-apartheid icon.

The group sang a hymn trans­lated from Se­sotho: “Nel­son Man­dela there is none like you”, and “Where there is God, there are no prob­lems”.

Unit spokes­woman Colonel Anna Phetoe said they found it fit­ting to pay trib­ute to the for­mer pres­i­dent be­cause some of the mem­bers in the unit used to stand “static guard” at Man­dela’s Houghton home.

“We want him (Man­dela) to get bet­ter, this is where he be­longs, so we can take care of him again,” Phetoe said.

Sergeant Te­boho Plaatjie, who used to pro­vide “close pro­tec­tion” to Man­dela, wished him a speedy re­cov­ery.

“When I was sta­tioned here (the Houghton home) I would look for­ward to work be­cause the old man was very ap­proach­able and showed us hu­mil­ity,” Plaatjie said.

“It breaks my heart know­ing that he is sick. I just want him to get bet­ter.”

An emo­tional Sergeant Thandi Mabaso shared her col­leagues’ sen­ti­ments.

“It was al­ways a plea­sure work­ing for him. When he en­tered the room he would com­mand re­spect, but he is a very friendly man to work for. He must get bet­ter, we still need him.”

More well-wish­ers joined the group dur­ing the singing. Staff from the nearby World ORT, an ed­u­ca­tion NGO, joined in the singing and danc­ing.

“Ev­ery­one liv­ing and walk­ing in South Africa owes their ex­is­tence to this man. We wanted to pay trib­ute to him while he is alive for the work that he has done,” said Ye­huda Kay, di­rec­tor of the NGO.

The flow­ers and cards left from pre­vi­ous days had been re­moved to cre­ate space for more get-well mes­sages.

Yes­ter­day at one point more than 20 cars and four minibuses were parked on the side of the road. – Sapa

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