Maverick Citizen


Gqeberha’s legendary police dog Mufasa dies at nine years old

Gqeberha’s legendary police dog Mufasa dies at nine years old
Mufasa and his handler sergeant Damian Theron. Mufasa died on Monday after six years of service with the SAPS. (Photo: SAPS)

After one final arrest and a losing battle with cancer, legendary police dog and K9 officer, Mufasa the Rottweiler, died on Monday night.

Hardworking and loyal right up until his death, Nelson Mandela Bay K9 officer, Mufasa, was widely mourned by the city on Tuesday.

The Rottweiler was a familiar sight in Gqeberha where he and his handler, Warrant Officer Damian Theron from the SAPS Dog Unit, patrolled the streets.

police dog mufasa

Loyal SAPS K9 officer Mufasa had an impeccable arrest record and was widely mourned after his death on Monday. (Photo: SAPS)

“We remember the sacrifice of a loyal and valiant companion who stood side by side with his human counterpart, protecting our communities and forging unbreakable bonds. We honour the memory of K9 Mufasa, who worked his final shift before calling it a day,” Colonel Priscilla Naidu said.

Mufasa was nine years old.

“He has been fighting crime alongside his human buddy, Warrant Officer Damian Theron, for an incredible six years, demonstrating remarkable bravery and a heart filled with love,” Naidu added.

Mufasa graduated in 2016 from the Roodeplaat K9 Academy with his first trainer, Sergeant Thembile Gaba. In March 2017, Gaba suffered serious injuries after being shot during a robbery. 

As a result, Mufasa had to be reassigned to Theron.

“Up until his last night shift, which was on 2 November 2023, Mufasa was actively chasing after suspects all over the metro. A true hero, a loyal companion, and a dedicated officer who served our communities with unwavering devotion,” Naidu added.

Mufasa was diagnosed with cancer in June 2023 but was still fit for work.

Theron described him as “a true hero – one with four legs and an unwavering dedication to the SAPS”.

“Mufasa was not just a member of the SAPS; he was family. He patrolled our streets alongside me and tackled the most challenging tasks with an enthusiasm that was truly extraordinary. Through long nights and challenging situations, his short, stumped wagging tail and steadfast commitment never wavered.

“His journey was not without hardships, as cancer struck, a battle he faced with the same determination he showed in every other aspect of his service. He worked tirelessly until his last day, giving his all for the safety and wellbeing of our community,” Theron said.

Mufasa was laid to rest by Theron and his fellow officers on Tuesday morning.

Also read in Daily Maverick: Dogged determination – meet K9 Khalesi and co who add ‘extra bite’ to Cape Town Metro Police’s efforts

Mufasa and his K9 colleague Bently have been the SAPS’ secret weapons in apprehending cable thieves and had an impressive “arrest” record since two years ago when thefts began spiralling. They were able to apprehend and “detain” suspects even in bushy areas where cable thieves often hid.

In one incident, the two dogs apprehended three suspects at the same time.

In September, Mufasa apprehended one of three suspects who tried to escape after being caught stealing cables near the Dawid Stuurman airport. A day later, he apprehended a cable thief who fled after a break-in at a substation. DM


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