By Jonk wa Mashamba
The South African Police Service has started off the new year on a somber note, with the burial of a station commander, who was killed in the line of duty in Mpumalanga.
During her funeral service, Colonel Beauty Marivate has been described by family, friends and colleagues as a dedicated officer.
Marivate, who served SAPS for for more that 30 years met her untimely death while responding to a supermarket robbery on the 30th of December last year.
She sustained fatal injuries when an armed gang opened fire on her vehicle when she arrived at the scene.
The 55-year- old station commander of Elukwatini SAPS, leaves behind four children and nine grandchildren.
General Bheki Cele, Minister of Police, delivered the eulogy at the funeral of the late colonel.
Cele did not mince words when talking about the anger of the community at the murder of their first police officer .
“This killing must anger all of us as a nation and it is through our collective condemnation of such cruel acts, that communities can know the dangers of harbouring criminals who won’t hesitate to get rid of the very same people that protect and serve them.
“On the same breath, the police must also respond decisively to these callous acts and ensure the death of one of their own is never in vein.
“Colonel Marivate was a skilled investigator who championed social justice. So it’s important that all of those thugs who robbed this community of a leader, are found,” Cele said.
In his address to the mourners gathered at the Elukwatini Stadium, Minister Cele called for strengthening working relations with the police.
“We will simply not co-govern with criminals. The President has made it clear that the life of criminals must be made harder. And these words have re-energised the SAPS and strengthened our resolve to make life miserable for criminals.
“However, police can’t do this alone. The men and women in blue who each day put their lives on the line to ensure our safety, need you to be their eyes and ears on the ground.
“It is through such active and consistent community policing partnerships, that criminals can wake up to reality that crime doesn’t pay. But will, instead, land them in jail or in an early grave.”
Eight suspects have been apprehended for Colonel Marivate’s murder. The Police Ministry is encouraged that police in the province are following up on strong leads that they believe will lead to more arrests.