Friends, family bid Hanson farewell

2008-06-13 00:00

Emotions were raw as municipal staff, friends and family bade farewell to Desmond Hanson at a memorial service at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall a day after his death.

Hanson, a senior traffic officer, died after he was hit as he tried to flag down a speeding taxi that had skipped two red lights on Thursday morning.

Colleagues wept as they recalled a man whose life was dedicated to law enforcement.

“Our pet name for him was Robo-cop … He was like a machine who dedicated his life to the service. He was proud of his job and you hardly saw him out of his uniform. He even used his leave to work at the South African Police Service and he helped everyone on or off duty,” said Mark Parsley, his supervisor.

Hanson’s career with the Msunduzi Municipality started in 1993 as a security officer and he was appointed a traffic officer in 2005.

Recalling his last shift, Parsley said: “We started work at four that morning and he came in in his usual high spirits. His bubbly laugh will always be remembered. … I want to say thank you to all the traffic officers who went into prayer while he was operated on … I can talk about him forever because he will be missed forever. Rest in peace, boet.”

Nokuphiwa Dlamini said she worked closely with Hanson and was devastated by his death. She was one of the first officers at the scene after he was hit. “We have all taken it very badly and it has affected me very much. He was … always the first one [to] help at the scene. I can’t even recount all the good things I will miss about him,” said an emotional Dlamini.

City manager Rob Haswell said the large turnout was indicative of the high regard Hanson was held in. He called on the public safety unit to bring forward suggestions of how best to remember him.

“Des was a law enforcement officer through and through. In giving his life, he saved lives. And as we express words of praise and remembrance, I would also like to salute those who wear the uniform. As much as we are sad, I think Des would have wanted us to re-double our efforts to save the city,” he said.

Hanson’s funeral will be held at the Gathering of Believers Hall at the corner of Washington and Emily roads on Tuesday, starting at 10 am. It will be followed by a private cremation ceremony.

Read the original story and reader comments here: Speeding taxi driver kills officer

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