Tributes pour in for PMB SAPS legend Haskins as he calls it a day

2016-05-31 09:30
Pietermaritzburg search and rescue legend Jack Haskins at his last Dusi Canoe Marathon this year.

Pietermaritzburg search and rescue legend Jack Haskins at his last Dusi Canoe Marathon this year. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - Today's the day.

Lieutenant Jack Haskins of the Pietermaritzburg K9 search-and-rescue unit finally takes off his uniform and officially retires from the unit.

His retirement marks the end of an era for the unit.

Pietermaritzburg people from all walks of life have paid tribute to ­Haskins’s selfless service to the community of KZN.

Acting uMgungundlovu North ­cluster commander Brigadier Francis Bantham described him as a ­“committed soul” who strove to serve the community.

“It is a sad day when the police lose an officer of his calibre. On behalf of the cluster, I wish him everything of the best and thank him for his service to our country. I hope and pray that he will continue to serve the community in his own way during his retirement,” Bantham said.

Lucas Holtzhausen, director of Pietermaritzburg Safe City, said: “[Today] is a very sad day for the South African Police Services and our Pietermaritzburg community.”

Holtzhausen paid tribute to Haskins as a “very dedicated and loyal policeman” and a “dear friend”.

“We have known each other since the mid 1970s when Jack often came to my assistance whilst I was a policeman in Ixopo and needed to arrest a fleeing suspect. How he managed to get there so quickly remains a mystery as we had no police helicopters those days.

“After my transfer back to Pietermaritzburg in 1986, I often relied on Jack and the Pietermaritzburg dog unit to assist in police cordon-and-search operations. I never heard the words ‘no’ or ‘I can’t help’ coming from him. I wish my friend a very happy retirement and I hope that he will still play an active role in safe guarding participants in local sporting events. I salute you Jack.”

Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business CEO Melanie Veness said: “Thank you Jack Haskins for giving our community so many years of dedicated service. You are an inspiration to all and we salute you!

“Wishing you a happy well deserved retirement (although I can’t see you lolling about for too long. I’m betting that pretty soon Jack will be back!)”

Many people posted their tributes on The Witness Facebook page.

Moira Grueneberg of Nottingham Road said: “Thank you for your many years of dedication Jack, but all I really want to say is ‘please don’t go’!!!”

Local Mrs SA contestant Maritsa Superem Gouws called Haskins “our local super hero”.

“A well respected man that has left his mark in the hearts of many and people will talk about him for years to come.”

Nkosinathi Radebe said: “You were one of the chosen ones, very few police officers of your calibre left in the service, if any. We will always be proud of you, you lifted our South African flag high … Farewell mfowethu.” — WR.

Jesse Feldman — Thanks for your dedication, you are an inspiration to everyone and hope there are more people like you out there.

Janet Smith Hicks — You are leaving big shoes to fill sir. Thank you for your dedication and all the best in your retirement.

Ashleigh Williams — You have left a legacy to be proud of. We all salute you and pray those who come after you continue to carry your flame of dedication, honour and bravery. May your future be all you have wished for. Now it’s time for you!!

Heather Stuart-Christie — SAPS is going to feel the void left by this wonderful man. Many people have been helped by him and his dogs. Enjoy your retirement- you deserve it.

Clinton Sadler — A dedicated man at all times to the SA Police, his colleagues member’s of the public and friend’s around the world. I SALUTE YOU JACK!

Gail Randelhoff — Thank you for all the rescues and assistance you have given the public over the years Jack. God bless you for your hard work. Go well.

Gavin Palmer — Well done sir. An honour and a privilege to serve with you.

Frik Gersbach — Well deserved Jack, it was always a pleasure working with you. I salute you mate.

Colin Deiner — All the best Jack Haskins. Thanks for what you did for us in India. It was an honour working with you.

Lyall Clifton — Wishing you all the very best as you start the next chapter in your life. It has been an Honour and Privilege to have known and served with you, however brief it may have been. Congratulations on all your outstanding achievements, including THIS one.

Yvonne Schonborn — Congrats! Thanks for the amazing service you provided with such loyalty.

Sally Byrne Beattie — A true legend, homegrown son of PMB!!! End of yet ­another PMB era … go well Jack.

Ntsikelelo Mkhafu — Well done lieutenant. Go and rest now you have done your part, I hope the young ones have learn something from you

Mlamuli Ntuthuka Mntambo — Farewell sir, Salute.

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