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Northern Cape SAPS proud of its search and rescue team deployed to flood-hit KZN

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The SAPS in the Northern Cape has applauded its search and rescue team, saying it made them proud during the recent recovery operations in flood-hit KwaZulu-Natal.

Six members of the Northern Cape SAPS’s search-and-rescue unit were deployed to KwaZulu-Natal to assist in rescue operations in the wake of severe floods. Picture: SAPS

THE SAPS in the Northern Cape has applauded its search and rescue team, saying it made them proud during the recovery operations in flood-hit KwaZulu-Natal.

Police spokesperson Captain Thabo Litabe said they were at the offices of the SAPS’s search and rescue team in Kimberley, where the members shared and described their individual experiences about their recent deployment in KZN.

He said in the aftermath of the floods in KZN in April, the Northern Cape SAPS’s search and rescue team was called up alongside that of other provinces to assist with the rescue, recovery and retrieval of survivors, victims and bodies in the greater Durban area.

“Six members of the Northern Cape SAPS’s search and rescue unit were deployed to KZN to assist and participate in the operations,” Litabe said.

“As they stopped outside their offices, they gathered as if to wait for their next instructions. They were greeted with a warm smile, despite the sadness and sorrow they experienced recently while deployed in KZN to help with the retrieval of bodies and survivors after the damaging and destructive storms and floods.

“Teamwork, closeness and camaraderie are evident among the members, this is displayed in their actions.”

Litabe said that the six-man team, under the command of Captain John Seeley and including warrant officers Ronsard Allan and Mike Korassie, sergeants Disang Moholeng, Frank Maleho and Glen Eiman from Kimberley and Upington, departed on April 14 and returned after the month-long search and rescue operation on May 14.

Scores of police officials, health-care workers, SANDF personnel and other emergency workers from around the country were sent to the province to help with the relief efforts.

Litabe said that numerous multi-disciplinary teams searched through piles of debris and conducted searches in rivers and flooded areas to retrieve bodies and rescue victims swept away in the heavy rains. The police members had to remain brave while assisting the family members who lost relatives in the floods.

“On a normal day during the operation, they reported to the joint operational centre, where they were divided into teams and given tasks to perform. Each team was deployed to different areas of KZN with search-and-rescue dogs, visiting an average of 38 scenes per day,” Litabe said.

He said Warrant Officer Korassie gave a detailed description of his life-threatening experience, “which he will never forget”, at waterfalls when having to retrieve bodies.

At the time when Korassie visited the hardest-hit metropolitan area of eThekwini after the heavy rains, President Cyril Ramaphosa described the flooding as a “catastrophe of enormous proportions”.

Litabe added that Captain Seeley and his team were anxiously waiting to be called up for their next assignment to assist with Operation ISSA.

Before concluding the interview, the provincial heroes received a call and were on their way to retrieve the body of a missing person in the Province.

“Thank you for all that you have done for this country. You have indeed displayed patriotism. All of you are our national pride. We thank you for your dedication and commitment to the cause of serving. Your good deeds will indeed be written in the books of history,” national police commissioner Sehlahle Fannie Masemola told the teams, before they returned to their respective provinces.

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