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SAPS PAYS TRIBUTE TO WOMEN IN LAW ENFORCEMENT: MEET WARRANT OFFICER LEHONG, AN NIU OPERATOR: PRETORIA
2021/08/19      |  Written By:  Colonel A Mathe   |   Province:  Gauteng

Pretoria, 18 August 2021: In celebration of women's month, the South African Police Service (SAPS) deemed it fit, to celebrate and honour its women who continue to break barriers in a traditionally male dominated environment.

Today, we introduce the nation to Warrant Officer Suzan Lehong.

The forty-five-year-old member has 19 years' service having joined the organisation in 2002.

Originally from Ga-Phasha Selatole in Limpopo, the member serves as one of only twenty-three female National Intervention Unit (NIU) Operators in the organisation.

As a National Intervention Unit (NIU) Operator, Warrant Officer Lehong attends to medium and high risk operations. These include Cash-In-Transit (CIT) heists, rhino poaching incidents, armed robberies as well as tracking and tracing dangerous suspects.

NIU Operators are tasked to stabilise volatile situations by combating serious and violent crimes, the policing of high risk public violence, and also provide operational support to other units within the SAPS.

The NIU render a specialised operational support function focused on planned, intelligence-driven and targeted deployments to address specific incident of crime.

The member has been attached to the NIU for the past 17 years' and has worked on several high profile cases including that of organized crime boss, Radovan Krejcir and the Boeremag treason trial.

Recalling her highlights of these cases, the member says it takes bravery, a high level of discipline, determination and endurance to work in this field.

"I was part of the team that was deployed to effect the arrest of Mr Radovan Krejcir. I was one of only three women out of more than twenty members that were deployed to track, trace and take down the suspect. When we arrived, we positioned ourselves and once ready, we took down the suspect. During the trial proceedings, I led the team who were escorting the dangerous awaiting trial prisoner from Leeuwkop Prison to the Johannesburg High Court."

"On the Boermag case, I was part of the team that was escorting the group from the Kgosi Mampuru C-max Prison to the Pretoria High Court during court proceedings".

"I have worked on several other cases which include tracking and tracing down Rhino Poaching Syndicates and attending to a host of other serious and violent incidents".

The member was also among the chosen few female operators deployed to the 2007 Cricket World Cup held in the West Indies to benchmark ahead of the 2010 World Cup. With the acquired skills and knowledge, the cohort came back to the country and shared best practices with other colleagues in order to curb serious and violent crimes.

Over and above her day to day responsibilities as a team leader, the member is a qualified trainer specialising in weapons and tactical training.

As a team leader in her Unit, Warrant Officer Lehong says of importance is to know and understand the capability of each member in your team as this is the key for a successful operation.

"Being part of the NIU is about being bold and not being afraid to take up any task or situation one is confronted with. Its about taking risks and believing in your capabilities. I would like to encourage more women to join this specialised unit so that together as women, we continue stamp our authority in this male dominated environment".

To qualify as an NIU Operator, a member needs to undergo specialized tactical training. Once qualified, members continuously attend in-service training workshops to ensure that they maintain and sharpen their skills.

To Warrant Officer Lehong and other female NIU Operators, thank you for risking your lives on a daily basis to ensure that the people of South Africa are and feel safe. 

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Warrant Officer Suzan Lehong
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Warrant Officer Suzan Lehong