KEY NOTE REMARKS OF THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF POLICE, HON MS MAKHOTSO MAGGIE SOTYU (MP) AT THE FUNERAL SERVICE OF THE LATE GREGORY IVAN VIS IN NORTHERN CAPE
The Family of the late Sgt Ivan Vis,
Today I want to encourage all the colleagues of the late Sgt Vis, including his former SANDF colleagues, to cry, to wail, to even loose your composure, if you may, just to show that you are not steel. You are also human beings who are emotional and spiritual.
This will also help you to acknowledge that the internal health and wellness programs that we have within the South African Police Service are not solely there for your debriefings against post-traumatic stresses.
These wellness programs should in fact strive for a complete police officer, programs that will save lives; that will salvage a career progress; that will save a marriage; that will keep a family together; and certainly that will produce a better community service delivery against crime and for stability to all people who dwell in our land.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am saying this because the Ministry of Police has recognized that a holistic wellness in South African Police Service is a must, it just simply cannot be overstated.
And, after reading the incident report that led to two of our police officers being fatally wounded and one more seriously injured, I am convinced more than ever that, as the Department, we truly need creative innovations and commitment to a holistic police officer wellness.
For instance, one would expect that a former police officer would still have an appreciation that, there exist a strong solidarity and bond between police officers due to the nature of dangerous job they do on a daily basis.
But, I was shocked and dismayed to know that the perpetrator of this heinous crime, was not only a former police officer, but was also married to a police officer, who he abused domestically.
I also horrifically got to know that, he was actually stalking his police officer wife in her working place with the sole intent to do bodily harm to his own wife. Instead, he killed the colleagues of his wife!
The perpetrator who is a former police officer was supposed to know that all police officers, whether you are behind the desk, whether you are in the streets running after a criminal, whether you are on patrol, or whether you are investigating a committed crime, come from one family.
The hours that police officers spend away from their families obligates them to become a family, to be connected, to be in solidarity.
Indeed, the shots that were fired at Police Officers W/O Vertue (may his soul rest in peace), W/O Van Der Merwe, Sgt Tau, Sgt Boyise and Sgt Vis (may his soul rest in peace), were shot at all members of the Police Service and the country they serve.
But this villain Mr Feni (who also succumbed to his wounds), the heartless triggerman, who was a domestic abuser, had none of this collective notion.
That is why the Minister and I have prioritized this holistic police officer wellness under the project called the Ministerial SAPS Transformation Task Team. Evolving societal expectations and related behaviours have definitely changed the environment in which our police officers are supposed to serve and protect.
So, as the SAPS Leadership, we are not going to allow a situation where people perceive policing as business as usual, whilst our police officers continue to face heightened incidents of crime, violence, and abuse.
The Ministerial SAPS Transformation project will ensure that our police officers are well prepared to fight crime under the extreme volatile situations in an extreme changing working environment.
In this instance, we want to make sure that there is always enough budget to fund our Constitutional mandate as police department.
There must be enough money to change the ways in which our police officers approach their mandate and related duties and responsibilities.
By this holistic wellness of a police officer, we want to ensure that we have a physically, emotionally and spiritually fit police officer who is constantly looked after throughout his cycle as a police officer: from recruitment, retention, relocation, and ultimately, to retirement.
Our main goal as Leadership is to rather have a police officer retiring into his/her own family and community, instead of retiring his/her blue uniform due to untimely death.
In conclusion, I want to appeal to the Provincial Commissioner of Police in the Northern Cape, General Shivuri, to ensure that all the dependants of the late Sgt Vis, who are beneficiaries, must get their due benefits without unnecessary delay.
And, I want to appeal to the CEO of the SAPS Educational Trust, Chief Director Hendricks, to speedily ensure that all Sgt Vis’ school going children are enrolled in this scheme, so that they can continue with their studies.
To the Vis Family, I would like to leave you with this Biblical Verse: PSALM 34:18:
“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”.
I thank you all.