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2022/11/22      |  Written By:  Colonel A Mathe   |   Province:  Gauteng

Pretoria: 21 November 2022 - In-house Employee Health and Wellness (EHW) professionals consisting of Chaplains, Psychologists and Social Workers continue to provide spiritual and psychosocial support to the families and colleagues of the three members attached to the Presidential Protection Service (PPS) who were involved in a fatal accident in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.

Warrant Officer Thomas Shongwe has been identified as the member who sadly passed on, when one of the vehicles forming part of the country’s Deputy President's motorcade overturned.

Born and bred in Nelspruit, the 56-year-old member had 31 years' of uninterrupted service, having joined the organization in 1991 as a student constable.  For the duration of his service, the member was attached to the Division: Protection Security Services (PSS) where he served as an in-transit VIP protector. From 1994 to 2018 the member was responsible for rendering protection services to the office of the Premier in Mpumalanga. The member was later transferred to the Presidential Protection Services (PPS) component from 2018 to date, where he served as a close protector for the current Deputy President.

Two other occupants that were in the same vehicle as Warrant Officer Shongwe, include a 50-year-old captain who is still in a critical condition in hospital and a 44-year-old warrant officer who has since been discharged.

The National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Fannie Masemola says an investigation is underway to determine the circumstances surrounding the cause of the accident.

"The death of the member is not only a great loss to the organization but also the community at large. He has been described by his immediate commander’s as a quite, punctual, committed and disciplined member who served his country with distinction. On behalf of the SAPS management, we offer our condolences to his family and loved ones and  also wish the injured members a speedy recovery", said General Fannie Masemola.  

To Warrant Officer Shongwe, the SAPS flag doesn’t move because the wind blows, it moves because of the last breath of every officer who died defending it.

The member is survived by his wife and three children.