Melkbosstrand police station commander Captain Ronita van der Toorn gave an emotional farewell speech at her retirement dinner.
Captain Van der Toorn has been the station’s head for the past eight years. She said her goodbyes at a dinner held at the Atlantic Beach Golf Estate on Thursday January 31.
About 100 people, including members of the Melkbosstrand SAPS, the community police forum, the neighbourhood watch and the street watch were there.
Captain Van der Toorn has been with the police for 35 years, 17 of them at Melkbosstrand and eight as the station’s commander.
“At first, it was quite a big challenge, but partnerships became important,” she said of her job. “With the assistance of my husband (Colonel Robbie van der Toorn), I was able to establish those relationships. The neighbourhood watch grew and is very active in the community. I supplied them with an office at the station, and that is working well for everyone involved.”
Melkbosstrand Neighbourhood Watch chairman Jacques Erasmus said the watch had worked well with SAPS under Captain Van der Toorn’s watch.
“There were difficulties that we had to work through, but I think the fact that we all had the passion and the will to work together made this partnership a success… I learned to know the captain as a very caring person and treated everyone equally. We are definitely going to miss her,” he said.
Melkbosstrand CPF chairman Samie Kleinhans said Captain Van der Toorn had always emphasised how important it was to work together.
“She stayed calm and confident and especially during difficult situations, this helped her to stay professional. I personally like the fact that she stayed in the community, that she knew the SAPS rules and laws very well and that she was in the streets often getting involved with police work.”
He wished her well for her retirement and said her replacement had “big shoes to fill”.
Sergeant Malusi Mabusela, joined the station in 2004 but is originally from Limpopo. He said Captain Van der Toorn had helped him adjust to life in Cape Town.
“She mentored me and treated me equally just as she would treat anyone else.
As a station commander, she always had an open-door policy and always made time for her members. That is one thing I will remember about her,” he said.
Captain Van der Toorn said she was leaving SAPS but would remain part of the Melkbosstrand community and help wherever she could.
“I love this community, and I want to see it flourishing,” she said.