The Table View community honoured one of its police officers last week with a wreath-laying ceremony and a memorial service.
Sergeant Nameto Molema, 48, was shot and killed on Friday November 26 while responding to a business robbery.
His his partner, Sergeant Malibongwe Mnani, was shot and wounded in the leg in the shootout with robbers (“Table View in shock after policeman slain,” Tabletalk, December 1).
On Thursday December 2, there was a wreath-laying ceremony at Table View police station to honour the fallen policeman. The Table View Community Police Forum, the Table View Neighbourhood Watch, private security companies and other civic groups from the area showed paid their respects.
After the ceremony, a memorial service was held at the Milnerton Aquatic Club. Deputy provincial commissioner for visible policing Mpumelelo Manci led the proceedings.
“Sergeant Molema died a hero. Yes, we are mourning, but I feel we should also celebrate his life. He died doing his job and doing what he loved. We want to give him a fitting tribute today. His life was a life well-lived, and we are thankful for the time we had with him,” he said.
Sergeant Molema would have been 49 on December 20. He joined the police in May 2002, doing his basic training in Graaff-Reinet before getting his first post as a constable at Paarl police station.
He joined the Table View police in 2018, according to the station’s acting commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Christa Nel.
“On a bitter-sweet note, Sergeant Molema was notified in October that he qualified to become Warrant Officer and was also going to be recommended for a promotion. Unfortunately, he never got the privilege of wearing that rank. He more than deserved it. He leaves behind a wife, a son and two daughters. But he also leaves behind a broken police station. It will not be the same without him,” she said.
Bonnie Molema, Sergeant Molema’s uncle, said his nephew had been dedicated to his job and it gave the family comfort to know that he had died doing what he loved.
“He wasn’t only a good police officer and dedicated, he was a great family man. I remember in 2005 giving a speech at his wedding. I never thought I would have to be giving a speech at his memorial. Nameto was like a son to me, and we are grateful for the time we had with him,” he said.
Also at the memorial service was the provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile.
“It’s almost like we should have done more to protect one of our own,” he said. “We can find comfort that he was a God-fearing man who loved his job and his family. Listening to how people speak about him is very moving, and we can find solace in that he is in a better place. As for us police officers, we have to protect ourselves. We can’t have criminals taking chances and trying to end our lives. I suggest that we should kill the criminals before they kill us or anyone else. We can’t wait and get slaughtered by these thugs. If someone takes out a gun, don’t wait for them to shoot. You must shoot first,” he said.
Lieutenant-General Patekile said SAPS had an education fund for the children of fallen officers and Sergeant Molema’s children would benefit from it.