While the safety and security of residents and their properties are a priority for the SAPS, it is also crucial for a police official to know his community and build strong relationships with them especially when urgent intervention is required.
Being a police officer is not just about fighting crime and arresting suspects. Sometimes, a police official need to be compassionate and show that we really care about the safety of our community even more so when the client in need of assistance is a senior citizen.
With only a month left for retirement, in November 2021, Capt Desmond Baartman from Visible Policing at the NMB District Commissioner’s office stumbled on a heart wrenching story posted on social media about a destitute elderly couple living in squalor for the past 52 years in a tiny shack in Kliprand in Bethesldorp. Wanting to make a significant difference before he finally retires in December 2021, Capt Baartman personally took the plight of this couple to his heart and immediately set out to make a meaningful change to their lives.
He contacted a local politician in the area to garner support and together the wheels started turning. The generosity of both community and the Department of Human Settlement made the dreams of this elderly couple a reality. Within a week starting from 21 to 24 December 2021, a brand new home was erected. Emotions ran high when the house was handed over to an emotional Yousof Elliot (76) and his wife Sinah Elliot (71). The house was handed over by NMB mayor, Cllr Eugene Johnson, SAPS Bethesldorp Station Commander, Brigadier Zolani Xawuka and a local councillor. Food hampers were also generously donated so that the couple could enjoy a good Christmas lunch.
Acting Nelson Mandela Bay District Commissioner, Brigadier Ronald Koll commended the good deed initiated by Capt Baartman. ‘Such a gesture by the officer is never taught, instead a good deed is done because of a noble and kindred spirit. We wish Capt Baartman a happy retirement and encourage him to continue to make a difference in his community. The protection of the vulnerable is not the responsibility of the police alone but also that of communities and we appreciate their efforts in heeding to the call for their assistance,’ added Brig Koll.
Source: South African Police Service