Vryheid boasts best detective team in KZN

Constable Bongani Nkosi, Captain Attie Engelbrecht, Warrant Officer Sticks Sibiya received the 'Best Detective Group in KZN for 2017' award, under commander, Colonel Theo du Plessis.

WHEN it comes to ensuring criminals get their just deserts, detectives at Vryheid’s Organised Crime Investigation Task Team have been ranked the best in KwaZulu-Natal.

The newly established Task Team have managed this extraordinary feat within their first year of operation, tackling high profile, serious and violent crimes, including murder, kidnapping and farm attacks.

Captain Attie Engelbrecht, Warrant Officer Sticks Sibiya and Constable Bongani Nkosi, under Task Team commander, Colonel Theo du Plessis, recently won the KZN Provincial Excellence Award for ‘Best Detective Group of 2017’, and went on to represent KZN in the National Excellence Awards, which took place at the ICC on Friday.

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While they did not win the National Award, Col Du Plessis says he is extremely proud of the members of his team, who measure their success by the number of cases they solve and the number of criminals they put behind bars… Not the awards they have under their belt.

“Our success rate is very high and we often take over the cases that stations battle with, where the investigations have been dragging on for a long time. I am proud to have a dedicated team that works well together. We understand each other’s strengths and flaws and work well together,” said Col Du Plessis.

“The work that we do is very dangerous and we are often threatened with our lives. We begin each day with a prayer, thanking God for the privilege of another day. Before I go to bed at night, I say another prayer for each of the members to be safe.”

The case that impressed the Police Commissioner and led to the team winning the Provincial Award exuded the hair-raising danger Col Du Plessis alluded to.

On May 22, six people travelling in a taxi in the KwaDambasi area in Nongoma were ambushed and gunned down with heavy automatic rifles. Five of the victims were killed and one sustained serious injuries. The killings were found to be related to an ongoing taxi feud between two families in the area.

“When the members of the Task Team arrived on the scene, there were no clues as to who was responsible for what had transpired. Yet, with their hard work, their investigations led to them making their first arrest the very next day,” began Col Du Plessis.

“We arrested the second and the third suspects shortly thereafter and recovered firearms and several rounds of ammunition. They are all scheduled for trial at the High Court from August 27 till September 7,” said Captain Engelbrecht.

Captain Engelbrecht has followed his childhood dream of becoming a police officer and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Captain Attie Engelbrecht and Colonel Theo du Plessis with the award that acknowledges the Vryheid Task Team for having the best detectives in KZN.

“It was an honour to behold a man in uniform and I knew from the time I was small that I wanted to be a police officer. It is something I enjoy doing because I enjoy helping people. It was a privilege to be acknowledged at the awards ceremony. I have never experienced something like that before. Our success is a result of team spirit. We are working on a Saturday and Sunday, when others are braai-ing, but we are can crack a joke and keep each other going and we are always there for each other, and that makes a difference,” he said.

Asked about the sacrifices he has had to make to ensure his successes in solving cases, Captain Engelbrecht put it simply, “I have a desk in my bedroom so that I can at least be with my wife when I am working through the night.”

“I would also like to thank the community for working with us,” he concluded.

Estella Naicker

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