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2021/04/22      |  Written By:  Colonel D Mdhluli   |   Province:  Mpumalanga

Nelspruit – Two police officers, Sergeant Itumeleng Motalane 39 years old and Constable Tilane Lebitsa 29, both stationed at Bethal SAPS, have been hailed as heroines after they went beyond the call of duty by assisting a woman to give birth near the police station gate. 

The incident happened on Monday, 19 April 2021. It is reported that a member of the public who was at the Community Service Centre to seek assistance, noticed a heavily pregnant woman walking near the police station crying for help. He then alerted Sergeant Motalane about the situation.  

Motalane who has four children of her own together with her male colleagues, immediately left everything they were doing, rushed outside and found the 35-year-old woman with her husband as well as her sister. The woman was screaming due to excruciating labour pains. Noticing that she was about to give birth, Motalane who at that time was joined by Constable Lebitsa, acted as midwives and assisted the woman deliver her fourth healthy baby boy. 

After the baby was born, the officers took the mother and her baby to Bethal Hospital for medical assessment. They (mother and the baby) were then admitted at the hospital and the child was declared healthy and strong. 

When narrating the incident, Sergeant Motalane herself said, “It was 18:00, after I reported on duty for a night shift, when a client informed us about the incident. I had my male colleagues in the Community Service Center and they told me that I was the only one to help the woman deliver her baby. At that time, I had no hand gloves and there was no time to search for one as someone was in pain. I had to risk my life for the sake of the woman and the baby she was carrying. My only fear was that I have never been confronted with this type of a challenge before as all my four children, were born at the hospital.

I told myself that I have to confront my fears and remedy the situation. After I helped the woman giving birth, she was in severe cold and was shivering. I then requested my colleague Constable Lebitsa to get a blanket from her room as she is staying at the police barracks. I was so confused that I could not even hear the baby crying. My male colleagues who stood at a distance, were very happy and made screams ululating that the child was alive. That is when I started hearing the cries of the baby. My other challenge was the umbilical cord which hooked the mother and the baby, I had no idea how to separate them. I used my phone to Google for home birth information with specific reference to the umbilical cord.

After sourcing information, I then succeed but had to rush to the CSC to search for something to tie it. Luckily I got a shoelace which I sanitized, tied the umbilical cord and at that time, we were waiting for an ambulance to arrive as my male colleagues have already summoned it. However seeing that it was taking time, I asked Constable Lebitsa to volunteer her bakkie so that we can take the woman as well as the baby to hospital. To cut the story short, at the hospital both the mother and the baby were declared fine except for the fact that the mother bled profusely and the hospital staff had to take care of that aspect”, concluded Sergeant Motalane. 

The Acting Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Services in Mpumalanga, Major General Thulani Phahla, said '' What brave soldiers we pride ourselves with. I really commend the members for going an extra mile in helping the woman to safely give birth to her baby. Police are often faced with strange and difficult situations but what we have realised is that, they are always equal to the task.'' said General Phahla.