Emotional farewell for two Cape Town safety officers shot dead in their thirties
Families of two ‘thin blue line’ officers, who were killed during gang warfare and the volatile taxi strike, mourned the passing of their loved ones at an emotional memorial service in Cape Town.
Many mourners were in tears during a sendoff for two slain city of Cape Town officers during the singing of a hymn – “Nomakubi siyaya nomabesidubula siyaya”. In other words, no matter how dire the situation is, we’re going to fight despite them shooting us; we’re going to win.
On Monday, 14 August, the Safety and Security Directorate of the City of Cape Town held a memorial service at the Civic Centre for two Learner Law Enforcement Officers (LLEO) who were fatally shot during the past few weeks.
Zamikhaya Kwinana was killed while on patrol in Nyanga on Friday evening, in the early days of the violent taxi strike. Toufeeq Williams was caught in gang crossfire while off duty in Beacon Valley, Mitchells Plain.
The two officers were both in their thirties, with promising prospects as Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (Leap) officers. The officers in the Leap programme collaborate with other law enforcement agencies to improve and increase efforts to combat crime in a number of Western Cape priority areas.
Toufeeq Williams – found his true calling
The 37-year old Toufeeq Williams was born and raised – and still lived – in Mitchells Plain, although he was stationed in Hanover Park.
Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Robin Peters, a shift colleague of Williams, spoke for a few minutes at the podium before becoming overcome with grief. She read Williams’s obituary while fighting back tears, praising him as a constant support and great father who always responded to any circumstances. “His dependable nature and ever-present smile brought joy to all who knew him, he was a great father to his daughter, Williams was passionate about the outdoors, and embraced new experiences with enthusiasm,” she said.
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Before opting to pursue a career in making a difference through law enforcement, Williams worked as a machine operator. He was knowledgeable about technology and always assisted, said Peters.
“We thought he’d picked a potential computer career, [but] Toufeeq’s true calling led him to his profound commitment to upholding the law and making positive change in society. His evenings were filled with captivating stories from his work, a testament to his dedication and passion for his chosen path.”
“It’s heartbreaking that his life was tragically cut short. Now everyday serves as a reminder of his absence,” LEO Peters concluded, her colleague’s arms supporting her as she sobbed more while making her way offstage.
The hymn “Nomakubi siyaya Nomabesidubula siyaya” was performed by all units of the Leap programme.
City of Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis addressed the family of officer Williams and further expressed his condolences for the loss of two officers being murdered in the prime of their careers.
“Officer Williams leaves behind a young family, including a daughter who has purpose. And the other taken in the senseless crossfire over gang warfare that has terrorised communities in our city for decades,” said Hill-Lewis. He added that “we will never forget the massive role that they played in building a city of justice, a city of order and a city of hope, their sacrifice will never be forgotten”.
Zamikhaya Kwinana – goal-driven man
Kwinana was born and raised in Mqanduli, Eastern Cape. The 33-year-old is a father of four, and the fifth child of six children.
Ndileka Bezena, Kwinana’s sister, described him as a man who abided by the book. She read the obituary, which detailed Kwinana’s history of employment, and how everything came to be put together in its current state.
“He was a very goal-driven man that began his career at the Ukhuselo Training Academy, moved to Bidvest Magnum as a patrol officer, spent four years at Chippa Security, four years at Bossa Security Intelligence, three years at ADT Security as an armed response, and finally joined the Cape Town Leap Team in August 2022.”
He was shot in the line of duty on Friday, 4 August, exactly one year after becoming a leap officer, while on patrol with other officers in a law enforcement vehicle during the taxi strike, she added.
As Bezana folded the obituary notes and sat down with the rest of the family, all crying, she also shed tears. The atmosphere was sombre as several coworkers of the officers began to shed tears too.
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Western Cape Premier Alan Winde told Daily Maverick at the memorial service that there had been progress and leads in the case of Williams, and follow-up is being actioned on Kwinana’s case.
“Police confirmed that a suspect was arrested in Grassy Park by local police. So, we cannot fail our fallen heroes because they stood up and made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure safety in and around our city.”
The only true method to provide justice and comfort to the family is to bring the offenders to justice, Winde said.
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Reagan Allen, MEC of community oversight and safety, said officer Williams and Kwinana have contributed to lives being saved. “We will dare not fail in our commitment to continue to fight for their legacy. We shall continue in our commitment to make sure that we do everything in our power to work with all safety partners.”
So, young people in Manenberg Elsies River, Hanover Park, Tafelsig or Beacon Valley can grow up and ultimately, live a life where they can contribute to safety as well, he said. DM