Cop to get military funeral

2005-05-03 12:09

Johannesburg - A miitary funeral will be held for Constable Johan Slabbert, 22, who died in hospital after being shot during a shootout at a Roodepoort shopping centre.

Slabbert died in Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on Thursday night after he was shot in the face during an armed robbery at the Princess Crossing shopping centre in Roodepoort on Sunday April 23.

The Slabberts' home in Discovery, Roodepoort, was filled with flowers and messages on Monday.

Slabbert's memorial service will be held in the Dutch Reformed Church Witpoortjie, Roodepoort, on Friday.

Because he died in the line of duty, it will be a State funeral.

"We are very sad," said Engela Slabbert, his mother, on Monday.

"We are taking every day a step at a time.

"At least we know where his soul is, it is just his body that must still be laid to rest."

Engela Slabbert and her husband, Superintendent Johan Slabbert, returned on Monday from a visit to their son's widow, Marieka, 23, whom he married in December.

"It is very difficult for her," Slabbert Snr said. "She is still living in the house in Witpoortjie that Johan bought recently.

"At least her grandmother is with her now," he added while he put down Marieka Slabbert's laundry.

"We have just gone to pick up the laundry. At least she does not have to worry about that."

'He was my hero'

The final arrangements for the funeral are being made. "We are very busy. We still have to complete the funeral letter - pick the right scriptures, and so on," Slabbert sen said.

He is not bitter.

"I work with criminals every day.

"It will not change anything if I am angry. He is gone. Vengeance is not mine. What does anger me, is that these people are not stealing to put food on the table. They are stealing because they are greedy and want to drive nice cars."

Slabbert's sister, Erika, 17, who is handicapped, trembled as she spoke. "He was my hero. I cannot help but feel angry."

In the Pick 'n Pay Hypermarket, several bouquets mark the place where Slabbert died. Staff members are wearing black ribbons to show their sympathy.

"It is for Slabbert - to show we miss him," one woman said.