Award winning SAPS duo

2018-04-03 06:01
The powerful illegal currency busting team of Sergeant Sabelo Xaba and Belgian Shepherd Erica.PHOTO: samkelisiwe gumede

The powerful illegal currency busting team of Sergeant Sabelo Xaba and Belgian Shepherd Erica.PHOTO: samkelisiwe gumede

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SERGEANT Sabelo Xaba and Belgian Shepherd Erica have been a force to be reckoned with for close to eight years, putting behind bars some of the country’s most notorious drug dealers.

Erica has a high-ranking service record, having saved millions of rands from the hands of criminals. Erica is an eight-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Shepherd known as a Malinois, who is a member of the Umlazi K9 unit.

She is known as a sniffer dog, brought here from the Netherlands, and she is trained to find money that has been hidden away. She is the only currency sniffer in KZN and comes highly recommended.

Xaba describes her as a friendly and resilient dog that never leaves the scene without finding what she is trained to find - money.

“Erica is a very active and friendly dog; she does not give up when she’s on a mission. She will not leave the scene before finding what she wants to find. The way she searches is very thorough,” said Xaba.

He says Erica is a special dog that is highly trained. The duo deal with white-collar crimes where huge amounts of money are usually involved.

Erica’s intensive training that she received when she came to South Africa has been paying off as she has been responsible for finding cash that has been hidden mostly by drug dealers.

All money that is recovered from the scene is confiscated by the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

Originally from Vryheid, Xaba joined the police force in 2003 and then joined the K9 unit in 2004.

“It’s very nice to work in the K9 unit because my experience is huge. I became a K9 handler in 2006 and trained my own patrol dog,” said Xaba.

The duo do a lot of travelling as they serve the whole of KZN and also assist other provinces.

Xaba is proud of the work they have been able to do with Erica and is certain that there is more to come from them

“There are a lot of goals that we’ve to reach in terms of more recognition and awards as partners. We started working together in 2011 and since 2012, we have been receiving recognition and awards.”

In 2012, the two were given the best recommendation of 2012 and a monetary award. In 2013, Erica was nominated as the best currency K9. Xaba and Erica are also known as the partners who were able to recover over a million rand in 2012.

They also sniffed out R1,7 million in 2013 and in 2014 they recovered R690 000 and $1,6 million.

They have been growing stronger each year with more cases closed behind their names. Xaba was also awarded the Visible Policing member of the year award this year.

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