Port Elizabeth : 27 January 2020 – Port Elizabeth based SAPS flying squad member, a recipient of a 2020 National Excellence Awards trophy, was voted by the audience at the awards ceremony last night as the laureate winner of the year. He was given the keys to a brand new vehicle by the Minister of Police at the 7th National Excellence Awards in Port Elizabeth last night.

This annual event is held to recognise and acknowledge the men and women in blue, including support staff, reservists and Community Policing Forums, who displayed extraordinary excellence and commitment in the execution of their daily duties and beyond.

These awards are also meant to encourage and re-enforce a culture of excellence, exceptional conduct, and professionalism within the department towards of a safe and secure South Africa as envisioned in the National Development Plan.

This year’s awards boasted 45 categories including special awards nominated by the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele and the National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Khehla Sitole.

But it was the 33-year-old member from Port Elizabeth, whose commitment, relentless and consistent efforts in the fight against crime, who was voted by the audience as the overall winner of the night. He not only received the keys to a brand new car, but was also, prior to the voting process, the winner in the category: Visible Policing Member of the Year.

In the 2018/2019 financial year, the member effected 102 arrests, recovered 39 firearms, 24 magazines, 105 rounds of ammunition. He went on to recover 56 vehicles that were either hijacked, stolen or used in the commission of crime. He also recovered various items of stolen property to the value of R1,8 million and cash of R210 000 as well as drugs worth a street value of R620 000.

But it was his story of courage and fearlessness that won the hearts and minds of the audience. On the 16th January 2019 the Warrant Officer who was off-duty at the time spotted a suspicious looking vehicle and pursued it. It was discovered that the said vehicle had been involved in a shooting earlier on in the day. A high speed chase ensued that led to a shoot-out between a him and a well-known gang leader in the area. The well-known gang leader was fatally wounded and this led to the recovery of 18 firearms on that specific day.

A very elated Warrant Officer Severiano Blundin had this to say:

“I feel very excited and at the same time I’m very grateful to the Lord for giving me this opportunity to win such an award and a brand new vehicle. I would like to encourage my fellow colleagues in the SAPS not to give up on their goals but instead to push through until they reach the top. Let us all continue to strive to make South Africa a safer place”.

This annual awards ceremony is one of the very few moments where the Service allows the men and women in blue to temporarily hang up their blue uniform and take time off from their often strenuous and challenging duties to relax, unwind and enjoy their time off.

“You all have made an invaluable contribution, not only to the SAPS as an organisation, but also to our country and the communities you serve, you have not done this in expectation of any award, but because service and loyalty are deeply embedded in your characters. For this we say thank you. We must however remain on a steadfast course on our journey to a safer South Africa. All this in essence, to realise the objectives of the National Development Plan, Vision 2030 and the Turnaround Vision of the SAPS,” said the National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Khehla Sitole

Among the attendees of this prestigious evening was the Premier of the Eastern Cape Mr Oscar Mabuyane and other dignitaries which included sponsors and donors.

“We are gathered here tonight to celebrate blue excellence in all its formations, as well as to pause and reflect and to further recognize and honor excellence in the Service. I would like to particularly take this opportunity to thank you for ensuring that South Africa was safer during the festive season period. Many South Africans are applauding the demonstration of hard work of the SAPS for ensuring the safety of all,” added the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele.

The list of winners of all the awards categories can be found on the SAPS website www.saps.gov.za<http://www.saps.gov.za>

Recognition of SAPS employees will culminate with the celebration of National Police Day on Monday the 27th of January 2020. On National Police Day the SAPS remembers the sacrifices that our men and women in blue have made and continue to make as they provide safety for all who live in South Africa.