On the 25 January 2015, the Justice and Peace ministry of Our Lady of the Wayside, Maryvale Catholic Church organised a celebration for the National Police Day. The objectives for the memorial were:
- To raise awareness of the causes and effects of crime in society and the church.
- To encourage the involvement of the church and communities in the fight against crime.
- To affirm the work that many police are doing, putting their lives at risk to keep the streets safe.
- To create a better relationship and collaboration between the Church and the police in fighting crime so as to be able to hold the SAPS accountable and to reduce the level of corruption.
We had a lively and vibrant Mass which was celebrated by Fr Didier who stood-in for our parish priest Fr Petrus Shiya. Fr Didier compared the profession of police men and woman to the calling of the Apostles by Jesus Christ. Both vocations require enthusiasm, dedication and selfless sacrifice. This analogy tied in well with the Gospel reading of the day, Mark 1, 14-20.
At the beginning of Mass Lieutenant Colonel Claudina Nkosi-Kumwenda, a local parishioner of our church, and her family lit the family candle. The family candle symbolises the centrality of families in the society.
The police officials in attendance were nine in total and were dressed in full police regalia. Police stations represented were Alexandra, Bramley and Norwood police stations. After Mass refreshments were served. Subsequently we had a group photo session with our visitors.
Lieutenant Colonel Hlakotsa, from Norwood police station, gave a short but moving speech. The message he conveyed centred on the fallen police heroes and heroines who died in the line of duty. They sacrificed their lives to keep our country free of criminals.
We are grateful to the station commander of Norwood police station Colonel Zoleka Kuboni, Colonel Kemp, the station commander of Bramley police station, and Brigadier David Ngcobo of Alexandra police station, for allowing their staff to participate in our celebration of National Police Day. We have laid the solid foundation for cordial relationship to flourish between the Church, the police and the general community at large.