Forgotten cop speaks

2015-08-06 06:01
Constable Bulelani Qwiliso, 30, is now bed-ridden after suffering a bout of pneumonia, which he attributes to lack of support from his employee. Qwiliso lost the use of his limbs after he was shot in the mouth in 2011. A teary Nikelwa Qwiliso said it

Constable Bulelani Qwiliso, 30, is now bed-ridden after suffering a bout of pneumonia, which he attributes to lack of support from his employee. Qwiliso lost the use of his limbs after he was shot in the mouth in 2011. A teary Nikelwa Qwiliso said it

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One night in November 2011, an off-duty Constable Bulelani Qwiliso was being dropped home after a day out with friends;

As he stepped out of the car, out of nowhere and without any form of provocation, unknown gunmen opened fire on them, with one bullet going through Qwiliso’s mouth and exiting through the back of his neck, leaving him paralysed.

Both the driver of the car and the other remaining passenger were also shot, but died on the scene.

Up to this day, he does not know the progress in the case or if the assailants were ever brought to book.

But, up to the time he was shot, Qwiliso,30, had been in the police service for seven years. After the incident, he lost the use of his faculties, including his arms and legs. A paraplegic. Before the incident, he was based at the Grassy Park police station, but living in Brown’s Farm, in Philippi.

In this exclusive interview to City Vision, Qwiliso related a sad story of neglect, lack of support and mal-treatment at the hands of people he regarded as colleagues and comrades.

He tells of how, after his return from hospital, he was never even afforded the services of a physiotherapist, so that his muscle tissue has all but collapsed as a result.

He was offered no post traumatic counselling and no after-care.

“Granted, I was not on medical an employee, I deserved to be taken better care of.”

Even worse, according to him, he was forced to return to work on less than half his previous salary.

“I was deployed as a door keeper upon my return(to work)...ushering in clients or complainants. Being exposed to the elements...”

He said he was promised “to be trained to do tasks that would be aligned to his disability, which never materialised.

Because of exposure to the elements, Qwiliso suffered another setback; pneumonia.

“I complained that it is cold by the door, to no avail. I have since become sick and the doctor told me that I have pneumonia. I had been exposed to the cold for far too long,” he shared.

He has not been to work for a time now, thus forfeiting the paltry salary he received after his predicament.

“I cannot drive myself now and I depended on my colleagues to come fetch me for work. But they are barred from fetching me and they are threatened with disciplinary action if they do. I only go to work whenever they manage to fetch me.

I think it is an unfair treatment that I am getting from my colleagues,” he offered.

Father of four Qwiliso said it was standard practice to pick up colleagues for work, and drop them off at night.

“It seems I no longer qualify for that...,” He said the whole experience was hurting and physically and emotionally draining.

“The treatment that I get now hurts me a lot. I did not expect it from my colleagues now that I am in a wheelchair,” he added.

Last month, he recalls going to work for only three days, which, he says, will see his salary vanish, he said.

“I still have to buy medication and pay my care-giver.”

He only had been to work for three days in July.

Qwiliso said he also felt that his employee has left him on his vices.

“I feel like I have been left to rot. I am no longer useful to them, so am on my own.

“Thembelani Leleki, is the person who helps me around the house, cleaning, feeding and taking care of me, as I cannot do anything for myself,” he shared.

He added that this Leleki also helped bring him to work

His biggest fear, he said, was loosing his job, as no one seems to be by his side. A forgotten man.

“I am afraid that they will one day fire me, because they always say I am absent without official leave(Awol), whenever I am sick.

He said he could not afford to loose his job, else his children will starve.

“I cannot afford not to work, because my four children will go hungry. I am still young to retire.”

Nikelwa Qwiliso, his sister, said, Qwiliso also suffers from short breaths.

“Life has been very hard for all of us since he was shot. He goes hungry most of the time,” she said.

She was forced to quit her job at Debonairs to help look after her brother.

Qwiliso said he still does not know why the armed men just attacked them, because, as his friends lay dead and he was maimed, nothing was taken to indicate the motive for the shooting.

After numerous requests for comment from SAPS Western Cape Media Centre, City Vision received this brief e-mail from Constable Noloyiso Rwexana, Corporate Communication officer for SAPS Western Cape Media Centre: “Kindly be advised that the member is advised to follow the police grievance procedure,”

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