LAW & ORDER Police ace to head Kwano station
PLETTENBERG BAY - From being scared of the men and women in uniform to being a successful police officer Kwanokutula's new station commander has made an impact wherever he has put down his roots.
After 26 years in the police force, Lieutenant-Colonel Xolile Gogwana has taken over the reins at the Kwanokuthula police station in Bitou and has solid goals for the area.
Gogwana took his post in May this year after serving the people of Knysna in various positions - including chief commander and sector commander of visible policing - since 2005.
The 48-year-old father of two said he was passionate about his job as he knew what police officers did, made a difference in society.
The East London-born Gogwana said he knew he wanted to be a police officer from a young age. "I was, like many children, initially scared of police. When we played cricket in the streets, for instance, and we noticed a police officer, I ran away with my friends. Only after realising that they were there to protect us, was the seed planted that I too wanted to serve my community," Gogwana said.
He started his career almost three decades ago as part of a pilot training project in Uitenhage (now Kariega) in the Eastern Cape. From there he was transferred to Kareedouw where he worked in the charge office before heading to Stutterheim where he spent time in the crime prevention information sector and became a field training officer.
He spent most of his career in the Eastern Cape, before starting in Knysna in 2005. When asked about his hobbies beyond the uniform, Gogwana laughed and said he spends most of his free time connecting with the community through meetings with local community police forums (CPFs) and neighbourhood watch groups.
This is where his passion is: the community. "It is very important for the police and the community to have a good relationship. They are the eyes and ears of the police. We cannot do this alone."
He added that he had already established a good relationship with the Bitou Municipality's law enforcement department, religious leaders, security teams and neighbourhood watch groups. "Prevention is better than cure. It is impossible to, as the police, be visible all the time in order to prevent crime. Criminals need to know that when we are not around, the eyes of the community are on them." Gogwana's main focus during his time in Kwanokuthula will be dealing with some of the thorns in the side of local police: crimes against women and children, assaults and burglaries. "In most cases the irresponsible use of liquor is the driving force behind many of these crimes, so it is definitely something that we will be focusing on."