It was the morning of Monday, 08 February 2021 at about 05:30, when Constable Moleko Mabe, who is attached to the local Visible Policing at the Phuthaditjhaba Police Station, left his home for work, being operationally ready to start his day at work. He had just boarded a police van alongside his colleague for the day, Warrant Officer Mandla Mothapo, when they heard over the two-way radio that an elderly woman has just been seen by community members in the flooded Kgoptjane River which is situated behind Phuthaditjhaba Police station. The two members immediately rushed to the scene.
Upon their arrival at the river, a number of community members were helplessly gathering over the bridge. “I heard the granny screaming in the bushy area already inside the river asking for help. I couldn’t even see her, but used my amateur swimming skills and made my way through the thorny branches and into the muddy Kgoptjane River. The water was flowing heavily as a result of showers of rain. I finally saw her holding onto a branch of a tree but was a bit difficult to reach out to her due to dense branches. I finally took the risk and dived into the flooded river until I reached her. I was not afraid to drown as my focus was to rescue the granny. I told her that I am here to rescue and save her life. It was frightening moment for her. She asked me how I am going to rescue her seeing that I don’t even have a rope. I asked her to take a grip of my belt as I started swimming with her towards the bank of the river. I spent almost five minutes in the river struggling to reach the bank. Another elderly person, by the name of Mr Mathe, came down to the steep bank to lend a hand. I was breaking the tree branches to pave my way, keeping focus on the safety of the granny, and ensuring that she doesn’t lose her grip,” said the brave Constable Mabe.
When he finally reached the river bank, Mr Mathe assisted to pull him out of the water until they were both safely on the ground. “We both walked the granny slowly towards the road. I saw the snake in the grass along the way but couldn’t mind it as my mind was to get out the granny to safety. Mrs Emma Tlaleng Mahloko (67) from Mangaung Village in Phuthaditjhaba told me that she wanted to commit suicide because she could not cope with debts back at home. We brought her to the police station where she was reunited with her family.”