Cele medals police heroes


South Africa’s police officers who have gone beyond the call of duty got much deserved recognition for their brave acts, when they were awarded bravery medals yesterday. National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele proffered the SAPS Gold Cross Bravery medals to Lieutenant Colonel S. Williams and Warrant Officer P.G. Odendaal.

Williams and Odendaal are being honoured for rescuing the occupants of a burning vehicle, the police said in a media statement. The duo was off duty when they noticed that a van had collided with the pillar of a bridge near Booysens, Johannesburg. They arrived at the scene to find five people inside the burning van. Despite the flames, the police officers were able to open the door and rescue the occupants, which included a six-year-old boy.

Constable A.D. McLean and student Constable J.G. Michael were awarded with SAPS Silver Cross Bravery medals, the police added. McLean and Michael responded to a call about a house on fire in Elsies River, in the Western Cape. The police officers entered the burning house and saved a four-year-old girl from the blaze. The girl had to hospitalised and underwent two skin graft operations. The girl’s mother died as a result of the fire. Michael also sustained burns to his hands.

Cele, praised the police officers for their valiant acts. “We commend such a gallant action they have demonstrated to the community. We are proud to have people of their calibre within our organisation. Their action signifies good ambassadorship that represents the police service of this country,” he said.