Dedicated to serve and protect

2017-01-24 08:16
Frank Uys stands next to the memorial monument in Woodlands erected in honour of Coloured soldiers who served in the two world wars.

Frank Uys stands next to the memorial monument in Woodlands erected in honour of Coloured soldiers who served in the two world wars. (Ian Carbutt)

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Ex-serviceman Frank Uys (71) of Woodlands is still working tirelessly to effect change in his community.

The former policeman and soldier, who is affectionately known as “JV” by Woodlanders, said he will fight crime to his dying day.

“With my late father also an ex-serviceman I’ve always been motivated to play an active role in protecting my community. I first joined the South African police service in 1967 at the age of 22. After training I went on to practise as a police officer at Loop Street police station in 1969,” he recalled.

“However, soon after I got married to my late wife Yvonne Valerie Uys, whom I met at an annual ex-servicemen memorial event, I resigned from the SAPS in 1971 and went back to the building industry as a tradesman to be able to provide better financial support for our family.

“One of my early projects as a tradesman was a job I was doing at the city council. While there, the council called on people to join the South African National Defence Force in order to protect the city’s key points.

“Naturally I was interested and in 1984 I began my service at the SANDF. I was so passionate that even when I came back from the army I would put on my police uniform and go and do police work.

“I worked tirelessly in combating crime in my and surrounding communities in Pietermaritzburg. We had physical patrols, and criminals were well aware that they would be dealt with. Crime was reduced significantly in Woodlands down to about four robberies a year.

“Sadly today our streets are laced with a myriad of criminals and alcohol and substance abusers. Society has become fearful because of high crime levels.

“However, we can and must not give up on our communities.

“Woodlands was a community effort born out of love and support. It emerged like a sprawling concrete giant out of the bowels of the wattle plantations that once graced this green forest on the Haythorne Hill. Youngsters would be seen helping dads and uncles build their dream homes.

“This is why I am not willing to let all those efforts go to waste. Currently I am involved with the South African Legions of Military Veterans who support underprivileged ex-servicemen’s families. I also personally oversee the protection of the Woodlands monuments. These monuments were erected to commemorate ex-servicemen who died in service of their country in the two world wars and it is important that we preserve their rich history.

“ We need more role models and fewer gangsters in our society.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  pmb people

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