By Staff Reporter
QWAQWA – A junior Phuthaditjhaba cop who has been celebrated and rewarded for saving Emma Tlaleng Mahloko (67) from drowning, remains grounded and focused despite all the praise for his heroism
Police Constable Moloke Isaac Mabe says all he wanted to do was to save a life without expecting anything in return.
Mabe has since been applauded and celebrated by both the Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality and provincial department of police roads and transport, who jointly gave him a blanket, hat, spear, shield, walking stick and a R5000 respectively.
Lieutenant General Baile Matswenyane, who was touched by the Constable Mabe’s courage, said Mabe deserves a token of acknowledgement.
“Most of the time we get reports of how bad our members are. Hearing something like this made me very emotional because I know this constable is not a swimmer nor trained to recue people; but without the necessary equipment he did not think twice about risking his life to save this elderly woman,” said Matswenyane.
For his part, man-of-the-moment Mabe had this to say: “The only thing on my mind was saving the life of this granny; I did not expect anything in return.”
Mabe who also received a blanket, a shield, spear and hat from executive MAP Mayor Masetjhaba Lakaje- Mosia last Friday, said he was humbled by the recognition from his own local authority.
“I will continue to serve and protect this community,” he said.
Despite having no experience in rescuing drowning people nor swimming, Constable Mabe risked his life when he braved the flooding Kgopatjane River just to save Emma Tlaleng Mahloko. Little did he know that his act would turn him into a hero.
It all started on Monday, 08 February 2021 at about 05:30, when Constable Mabe, who is attached to the local Visible Policing at the Phuthaditjhaba Police Station, left his home for work.
He was already in a police van, alongside his colleague Warrant Officer Mandla Mothapo, when they heard over radio that an elderly woman was seen drowning by community members in the flooded Kgoptjane River situated behind Phuthaditjhaba station.
The two members immediately rushed to the scene.
Relating the incident that has turned him into a hero, Constable Mabe said upon their arrival at the river, a number of community members were helplessly gathering over the bridge.
“I heard the granny screaming in the bushy area already inside the river, asking for help. I couldn’t even see her, but used my amateur swimming skills and made my way through the thorny branches and into the muddy Kgoptjane River. The water was flowing heavily as a result of rain. I finally saw her holding on to a branch of a tree but it was a bit difficult to reach out to her due to dense branches. I finally took the risk and dived into the flooded river until I reached her. Drowning was the last thing on my minds my focus was to rescue the granny. I told her that I am here to rescue and save her life,” explained Mabe.
Mabe says it scary watching Mahloko staring death in the eye, but he forgot about himself.
“I asked her to hold on to my belt as I started swimming with her towards the bank of the river. I spent almost five minutes in the river struggling to reach the bank. Another elderly person, by the name of Mr Mathe, came down to the steep bank to lend a hand. I was breaking the tree branches to pave my way, keeping focus on the safety of the granny, and ensuring that she doesn’t lose her grip,” said the brave Constable Mabe.