‘Straight’ cop’s long career

2013-11-04 00:00

POLICE Captain Sipho Zitha received a special award for 33 years of service at the Mountain Rise station’s long service awards ceremony held on Friday.

Interviewed after the ceremony, Zitha, who retired in September, said he lasted so long in the police service because he decided very early in his career that he was not going to be corrupt. He saw many of his colleagues who decided as he put it, to “go behind the bus”, to collect bribes.

He said many had their careers cut short because they eventually got caught. “I must thank God and my ancestors that I was not tempted to go down the wrong path,” Zitha said.

His advice to the younger generation of police officers is to keep on the straight and narrow, so that they, like him can have long careers and retire with peace of mind.

Zitha said in the early days it was not easy being a black policeman. “There was a strained relationship with the communities you served and often our lives were in danger. In those days, being a black policeman meant that you could get killed,” he said.

The retired policeman served most of his time in Dalton and after being promoted to captain he moved to Mountain Rise police station, where he spent the last three years before retiring. He told the gathering that he had to thank his mentor Brigadier Mandla Gwala, who is the station commander at Plessislaer. Zitha said Gwala encouraged him to study and he obtained his national police diploma.

Zitha and his wife Julia were presented with blankets as a retirement gift from fellow officers at Mountain Rise police station.

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