VIP protection unit gathers outside Madiba home in support
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