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NORTHERN CAPE SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM MAKES US PROUD DURING THE RECOVERY OPERATIONS IN THE FLOOD-HIT KZN
2022/05/26      |  Written By:  Captain T Litabe   |   Province:  Northern Cape

We are at the offices of the South African Police Service Search and Rescue Team in Kimberley in the Northern Cape, where the members shared and described their individual experiences about their recent deployment in the flood-hit province of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

As we stop outside their offices, the members are gathered outside as if waiting for their next instruction.  We are greeted with a warm smile, despite the sadness and sorrow the members experienced recently while being deployed in KZN to assist with the retrieval of bodies and survivors after the damaging and destructive storms and floods.

Teamwork, closeness and camaraderie is evident amongst the members which is displayed in their actions.

Before the interview commences, a very proud Acting Deputy Provincial Commissioner for Policing, Brigadier Hennie van Rensburg enters and joins the team. All acknowledgements are honored demonstrating respect shown by the members to their senior officers.

The aftereffects of the floods in KZN in April 2022, resulted in the Northern Cape Search and Rescue team being called up alongside other provinces to assist with the rescue recovery and retrieval of survivors, victims and bodies in the greater Durban area.  Six members from the Northern Cape Search and Rescue unit were deployed to KZN to assist and participate in the operations.

The six man team under the command of Captain John Seeley all from Kimberley included Warrant Officers Ronsard Allan and Mike Korassie, Sergeants Disang Moholeng, Frank Maleho and Glen Eiman from Upington departed on 14 April 2022 and returned after a month long search and rescue operation on 14 May 2022.

Scores of police officials, health workers, SANDF personnel and other emergency workers from around the country were sent to the province to help with the relief efforts. 

Numerous multi-disciplinary teams searched through piles of debris, conducted searches in rivers and flooded areas to retrieve bodies and rescue victims swept away by the heavy rains. The members had to remain brave while assisting the family members of victims who lost relatives in the floods.


On a normal day during the operation, the members reported at the Joint Operational Centre where they were divided into teams and given tasks to perform.  Each team was deployed to different areas of KZN with search and rescue dogs visiting an average of 38 scenes per day.

Warrant Officer Korassie gave a detailed description of his life threatening experience, which he’ll never forget at the waterfalls when having to retrieve bodies from the area.

When he visited the hardest hit Metropolitan area of eThekwini for the first time after the heavy rains, President Cyril Ramaphosa described the flooding as a “catastrophe of enormous proportions”. He further linked it to being the result of climate change and pleaded that we start taking measures to deal with it.

Captain Seeley and his team are anxiously awaiting to be called up for their next stint to assist with Operation ISSA.

Before concluding the interview, our provincial heroes received a call and were on their way to retrieve the body of a missing person in the province.

"Thank you for all that you have done for this country.  You have indeed displayed patriotism. All of you are our national pride. We thank you for your dedication and commitment to the cause of serving. Your good deeds will indeed be written in the books of history,” said National Commissioner, General Masemola before the teams returned to their respective provinces.

 

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Teamwork, closeness and camaraderie is evident amongst the members which is displayed in their actions.
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Teamwork, closeness and camaraderie is evident amongst the members which is displayed in their actions.
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Teamwork, closeness and camaraderie is evident amongst the members which is displayed in their actions.
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Teamwork, closeness and camaraderie is evident amongst the members which is displayed in their actions.