Two Ladysmith police officers were honoured with prestigious awards this week for the role they played in keeping their area safe during the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal in July.
Major General Phumelele Makoba and Brigadier Francis Bantham were both recognised by the Turkish Ambassador, together with the CEO of Defy, for their outstanding work of protecting the Ladysmith Defy Production Factory during the violent protests.
During the violent outbreak in KZN, the defy factory in Ladysmith became a target for looters. Bantham immediately dispatched a team to disperse the looters, and personally went out on the field to recover a looted fridge, after hours of dispersing the crowd. She also mobilised the community of the Uthukela District to stand together to protect the factory.
The Turkish Ambassador praised Makoba and Bantham for protecting the Defy Production sites during the unrest and for ensuring that the factories were kept safe, especially from being vandalised or destroyed, as it would hamper the service delivery process, which will have a major impact on the economy.
Brigadier Bantham, who also holds the title of the KwaZulu-Natal Women’s Network Champion, was elated by her award.
“Being in the South African Police Service for 31 years as a female officer has always been challenging, it always requires us to go ‘beyond the call of duty’ to prove our dedication to the South African Police Service and the honour we take to always hold the image of the SAPS high. As the Champion of the KwaZulu-Natal Women’s Network, I always motivate our female officers to progress in their daily tasks and always ensure the world knows that you are a strong and powerful woman”, she said.
Makoba also expressed her gratitude to the Turkish Ambassador and CEO of Defy for honouring herself and Bantham for their policing during the Unrest.
“Working in the South African Police Service is extremely challenging, especially as a female Senior Manager, as there is a lot of responsibilities which sit on your shoulders at any part of the day, and you have to balance these responsibilities, along with your daily tasks to ensure the Division of Policing for KZN is running smoothly,” she said.