Grahamstown’s Constable Mervin Frans crowned as province’s Police Star of the Year
THE Port Elizabeth policing cluster left a lasting impression at this year’s Eastern Cape Service Excellence Awards in East London at the weekend. The event, hosted at Hemingways Hotel on Saturday, saw the province’s top officers honoured for placing the interests of the communities they serve above themselves.
Mount Road police station’s Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg walked away with the award as the Communication Officer of the Year.
Captain Mike Grobler and his gang task team won the Detective Team of the Year.
Kwazhekele police station’s Constable Nondumiso Pohleli-Ntombana won Policewoman of the Year and Captain Garth Rademeyer of the Humewood cluster won Reservist of the Year.
The Eastern Cape K9 search and rescue team won the Vispol Team of the Year.
The team comprises Sergeant France Makgoga, Constable Songezile Katikati and warrant officers Steve Leslie, Pierre Marx, Jacques Swart, Paul Franks, Fred Dicks, Etienne Gerber and Eugene Coetzee.
Coetzee also received a medal for bravery for swimming out to sea and saving a Bay resident off New Brighton Beach.
Janse van Rensburg said: “The award came as a complete shock, I didn’t expect it. But it is great to know that all our hard work is being recognised and it encourages everyone to keep up the good work.” Grahamstown highway patrol unit officer Constable Mervin Frans was crowned the 2015 Eastern Cape Police Star of the Year for his contribution to a large number of arrests, the recovery of stolen vehicles worth R500 000 and drugs valued at R1-million.
The 35-year-old married father of two joined the SAPS in January 2005.
Frans said never in his wildest dreams did he think he would win the coveted award.
“I still cannot believe it. I mean there are a lot of officers out there who are doing a better job than me, hence I say I could not believe it was me when my name was called out,” he said.
“My commanders don’t tell me what to do because I know what is expected of me. My job is to detect and combat crime.”
In other notable awards on the night, Operation Fiela bagged the Newsmaker Award. It was accepted by deputy provincial commissioner Major-General Zamuthonga Mki.
More than 10 000 people have been arrested in the nationwide operation formed during the outbreak of xenophobic violence in April and aimed at ridding the country of illegal weapons, drug dens, prostitution rings and other illegal activities.
Mki said Operation Fiela was here to stay.
“This operation gets us into places where local police stations are unable to. It has more resources to assist local police stations,” Mki said.
“The operation is making a difference in communities because it eases pressure on local police stations. We are going into 2016 with Operation Fiela.”
The Eastern Cape K9 search and rescue unit won its category for best visible policing and the award was accepted by East London K9 unit member Warrant Officer Steve Leslie on behalf of the team.
In the last financial year, they attended to 224 complaints of missing people, with 30 people found alive and 24 bodies recovered.
The team also attended to 252 complaints of drowning, with 123 bodies were recovered and three people saved.
The team also recovered the bodies of 27 people who died under other circumstances.
The Mthatha police station received the award for best large station for the effective registration of complaints and attending to complaints timeously.
The award for best small station went to the Mooiplaas police station.