With the launch of a trust to pay for their education, the future looks brighter for the children of police officers who laid down their lives in the fight against crime.
When Warrant Officer Khurishe Mphahlele was gunned down at work in 2011, the future looked bleak for his three promising children who were about to enroll for tertiary education.
For a while, their mother, Raesibe, used the insurance payout she received to pay for their tuition, but the money could not last for long.
“I didn’t know how I was going to survive this year,” she says.
But then Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa launched the South African Police Service (SAPS) Education Trust at a ceremony that paid tribute to officers who paid the ultimate price in service of their country.
The Minister used the occasion to announce the first 11 beneficiaries, whose parents are police members who died on duty. The beneficiaries are Amukelani Rivombo (Gauteng), Tshepiso Medupi (North West), Lekoba Ronald Mokabane (Limpopo), Pheladi Grace Mphahlele, Samuel Khutso Mphahlele, Boledi Mphahlele (Limpopo), Tsholofelo Charity Mankanye (Limpopo), PL Sobikwa (Eastern Cape), PV Hlalele, GL Sebueng and K Ngozo, all from the Free State.
The trust will pay for their education in different fields of study at the various tertiary education institutions they attend.
Minister Mthethwa commended the recipients for showing a love for education at a time when many young people were attracted to bad influences. “We are proud of you because you are growing at the time when the youth are under constant challenges of unemployment, substance abuse and crime.”
He said the trust was set up to provide the best education and training for the development of children of members who died in the line of duty.
“We undertook this conscious decision in recognition that the education of our members’ orphaned children is a fundamental social responsibility which, as the department, we fully embrace.”
Minister Mthethwa thanked organisations, institutions and companies that have already made a donation to the trust.
He called on the private sector to help support the trust, saying that “for the trust to be efficient, it would require financial, corporate, training and moral support”.
The Minister added that education protected young people against negative influences. "The marginalised (young people) represent an easy target for gangs and syndicates; therefore, the community and its leaders should pay attention to the issue of social exclusion. One of the fundamental programmes in addressing such challenges is through investment in education for our youth.” He expressed confidence in the progress made by police in the fight against crime. “The consistent downward trend of crime statistics bears testimony to this fact. Nevertheless, we need to do much more.”
He paid tribute to the officers who died on duty and said educating their children was a token of appreciation for their heroic actions. “We can never bring them back to life but hope such an important initiative of furthering their children’s education … shall communicate a message that their gallant actions were not in vain”.
Mphahlele says the trust has helped relief her financial burden. “Boledi alone needed R56 000 for her National Diploma in Civil Engineering at the Mangosuthu University of Technology. The R30 000 she received from the trust will go a long way towards paying for