Wife’s prayers keep cop safe and sound

Sunday Tribune - - HERALD - NKULULEKO NENE

CHAS­ING bad­dies and bring­ing them to book is a way of life for hero cop War­rant Of­fi­cer He­mant Raghoo­nun­dan, who is based at the Malvern Po­lice Sta­tion.

And af­ter 26 years of work­ing as a po­lice­man, of­ten in dan­ger­ous cir­cum­stances, Raghoo­nun­dan cred­its his wife’s daily prayers for his longevity in the pro­fes­sion.

Raghoo­nun­dan was the off-duty po­lice­man who nabbed one of the sus­pects who al­legedly hi­jacked pas­tor Shailen­dra Sukhraj and his 9-year-old daugh­ter, Sa­dia, in Shall­cross last week.

Raghoo­nun­dan’s “serve and pro­tect” in­stincts kicked into gear when he heard tyres screech­ing in his neigh­bour­hood, even though he was off duty.

He had the eerie feel­ing that a hi­jack­ing was in progress.

Out­side his house, the hi­jack­ers were mak­ing off with Sukhraj’s ve­hi­cle.

Sukhraj was drop­ping off his younger child with his par­ents who lived nearby.

Raghoo­nun­dan im­me­di­ately gave chase on foot and caught up with one sus­pect, 39-year-old Sibonelo Mkhize, who has since made court ap­pear­ances.

One sus­pect was found dead at the scene, while a third sus­pect fled the scene.

Sa­dia, who was briefly taken in the car by the sus­pects, was shot in the stom­ach and later died in hospi­tal.

While Raghoo­nun­dan’s gun was cleared af­ter a bal­lis­tics test, po­lice are yet to re­veal whose bul­let killed the young­ster.

Af­ter such en­coun­ters, the mild­man­nered po­lice­man said daily prayers were his saving grace.

“My wife al­ways leads the prayer ses­sions be­cause she is con­cerned about my safety,” Raghoo­nun­dan said.

“As a cop there is no guar­an­tee that I’ll re­turn home alive,” he said.

Raghoo­nun­dan, a Hindu, said his fam­ily prayers were as im­por­tant as the daily ones led by a pas­tor be­fore ev­ery shift he worked.

“We al­ways place our faith in the Lord be­cause we un­der­stand our jobs are dan­ger­ous.

“We of­ten chase af­ter bad­dies who are ruth­less,” he said.

Af­ter all his years of ser­vice, Raghoo­nun­dan said he was still pas­sion­ate about tack­ling tough crim­i­nals to keep civil­ians safe.

Raghoo­nun­dan, who re­ceived an award for his re­cent brav­ery from a lo­cal church, said he had re­ceived nu­mer­ous medals of hon­our in the past, but the lat­est was clos­est to his heart.

War­rant Of­fi­cer He­mant Raghoo­nun­dan re­ceived a cer­tifi­cate of brav­ery from a church in Shall­cross.

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