Widow of slain cop tells of heartbreak at emotional memorial service
A courageous fallen hero.
That is how Constable Dwane Kemp’s colleagues in the police service will remember the 31-year-old who died after being shot during an armed robbery at a bakery in Central on Monday.
Kemp’s family members – including his pregnant wife, Candice – and friends and colleagues broke down several times as loved ones shared fond memories of the young man at his memorial service, held in a packed NG Moedergemeente church in North End on Friday.
Slide-show photographs of the slain constable were displayed via an overhead projector at the front of the church.
Candice, dressed in black and white, was seated between her late husband’s mother and father in one of the front-row seats.
Her eyes were red and puffy as she battled to hold back the tears.
One of the messages on the screen read: “When a police officer is killed, it’s not an agency that loses an officer – it’s an entire nation”.
Motherwell cluster commander Major-General Dawie Rabie condemned the killing of police officials.
“The killing of police members can never be justified and it must come to an end,” Rabie said, addressing the mourners.
“It must be an outrage to communities who are law abiding citizens.
“We can never accept it.” Kemp, a Flying Squad officer, was shot in the stomach when he and his partner, Constable Musa Hans, who were around the corner from the LeBon Bakery in Central, responded to a robbery on Monday morning.
Kemp later succumbed to his injuries in hospital.
Four of the alleged robbers were shot dead, while it is believed a fifth suspect managed to escape the bloody scene.
An emotional Hans, who had been Kemp’s police partner for two years, said he would miss his friend’s corny jokes.
“And, as intimidating as he could be, people could also go and speak to him. He was approachable,” Hans said.
Looking at Candice, Hans said: “You have not only added to his life, but you also helped him grow – and for that, you are a remarkable person.”
Constable Darren Grebbe said Kemp had been looking forward to being a father to his unborn son.
“He was very excited when he heard the news that Candice is expecting a boy. We could not get him to stop talking about it.
“He’d tell us, ‘hey, you guys are not going to get rid of me because there’s another Kemp on the way’,” Grebbe recalled.
Rabie said: “Today, with this very sad occasion, we mourn together with the Kemp family as we prepare to bid our final farewell to a courageous and brave fallen hero.
“Attacks on and the killing of police officials undermine the rule of law and such attacks have a negative impact on the morale of all members of the South African Police Service.
“At the young age of 31, Constable Kemp had dedicated eight years of his life to serving and protecting the people of Port Elizabeth.
“Constable Kemp and his colleague [Hans] were mercilessly attacked and he was unexpectedly robbed of his life while diligently performing his duties.”
Rabie also offered words of comfort to a grief-stricken Candice, who bravely faced fellow mourners to do the vote of thanks.
“Never in my darkest fears did I ever think that I would be standing here at my most amazing husband’s memorial service,” she said, voice shaking.
“Looking at all of you guys, I cannot believe that I have the strength to stand here.
“I’d like to tell all the seniors [police officials] – you guys are dressed [amazingly].
“It was Dwane’s dream to be dressed like you. He was truly dedicated to his job. He loved serving the SAPS – I know that, I really do. I want to thank you for travelling so far, putting your uniform on to represent my husband.”
Kemp’s funeral is expected to be held at the NG Hoogland Church in Charlo on Saturday.