A superb effort from the men in blue this past weekend averted what could easily have turned into a night of terror and, ever the appreciative citizen, I just feel this deserves a mention.
It was last Sunday before dusk when I decided to make the short trip to the watering hole that’s just round the corner from where I live in Lower Crossroads, for a sundowner or two.
Pardon me, dear reader, I will not be naming this joint for fear of the reputational harm it might cause (and also so that my rivals do not have to be privy to the spaces I move around on weekends). Once inside there, I exchanged pleasantries with acquaintances before proceeding to sit and enjoy a quiet drink.
Everything seemed normal, I must say. Except that in the direction that I was facing, on the table below the TV set, were two guys I could not tell from a bar of soap, save for their attendant display of high testosterone levels, just by their expressions.
They neither had a drink at hand nor engaging in talk with anyone.
I thought nothing of it really, other than the fact that strange things happen inside township taverns.
There seems to be an unwritten law that whatever the next person says or does, their facial expressions or manner of walking, whether they drink their beer from a glass or straight from the bottle to the mouth – is really nobody else’s business.
Just as well, less than two hours later, a contingent of heavily armed police stormed into the tavern and started scouring the surroundings with their eyes.
Then, within a minute, a pistol was retrieved from one of the two strange-looking fellas, much to the shock of the carousers.
Needless to say, he was immediately in handcuffs.
I later heard that his pal was arrested outside the venue as he tried to make a dash for it.
The thought of what could have befallen one or more patrons that night was not lost on most of us.
And so it was left to everyone to guess what could have been. Was the pair planning a massacre of sorts, the kind of which we have become accustomed to in this neck of the woods.
Were they there for a hit on someone? Were they going to wait until closing time, in order to rob the place? My head was in a spin, man.
After the search, as I made for the exit, I was confronted by about 13 police vans lining the street. It was an unbelievable sight.
Here I was, having gone to this place to enjoy a drink and now exiting like a movie star, under the glare of the blue lights, with sirens blazing.
This was not how I had planned my Sunday.
As I said earlier, mine is just to send out a heartfelt word of thanks to the Philippi East Saps for their swift response, tip-off or no tip-off.
As one police officer put it: “Sizama ukukhusela nina madoda qha nina aniyiqondi lonto.”
I admit to being one of those who are quick to lambaste the cops for what seems to be a lackadaisical attitude.
But spare a thought for the enormous pressure these fellow South Africans work under, with limited resources, all in the name of safeguarding us all.
They go to the most dangerous of areas, and, in the process risking their lives, when the onslaught is real out there.
Some do not survive; killed for their weapons. These attacks on them occurs even as they are off-duty. Think Constable Ncedo Katoyi, recently shot dead during an ambush, during which he and a colleague were attending to a complaint in Site C, Khayelitsha. Criminals are a despicable lot.