Durban – The wife of a Durban metro police officer who was killed when a taxi crashed into him said an intuitive “feeling” pushed her to send him a message to check if he was safe minutes before the incident occurred.
Inspector Johan Deysel, 59, was knocked down and killed when he tried to stop a taxi south of Durban on Friday evening.
He was on official police duty during an operation outside Galleria shopping centre when he was hit by the white minibus taxi.
Metro police spokesperson Superintendent Glen Ndlovu said they were deeply saddened to have lost a long-serving member.
He said metro police had decided to hold a roadblock after complaints by a councillor that taxis and vehicles had the tendency to completely disregard the stop signs outside Galleria Mall.
Since the incident on Friday night, video footage of the crash has gone viral on social media.
“The Durban metro police wishes to advise people to refrain from making negative commentary on social media platforms, based on the video on these networks.
“The video footage starts at the juncture where the member steps over to stop the taxi.”
He said the video did not show the marked stop street.
He also said that prior to the crash, Deysel had flashed his flashlight “quite a few times” to indicate that the driver should stop.
A case of culpable homicide is being investigated by Amanzimtoti SAPS.
Provincial police said a 22-year-old suspect was arrested at the scene and will appear in the Amanzimtoti Magistrate’s Court today.
Deysel’s wife Rina said that at about 7.35pm she sent him a message via WhatsApp to check if he was safe.
“I just got a strange feeling and I messaged him to ask if he was okay. He replied, ‘Ja, dankie’. At 7.39pm my last message to him was, ‘Stay safe sweetheart’. The incident happened shortly after that,” she said.
Deysel had worked in the police service for 34 years, with his duties ranging from protection services to a dog handler. Originally from Johannesburg, Deysel and his wife of 20 years moved to KwaZulu-Natal in 1996, when he joined the metro police.
Deysel, from Winkelspruit, would have celebrated his 60th birthday on February 19 – days before his “miracle” baby celebrates her 2nd birthday.
Rina said that after many years of trying, her husband’s dream came true when she had a baby girl two years ago. They named her Johané after Deysel.
“She was his pride and joy. One of the last things he did before getting ready for his shift on Friday was give his daughter a bath. They loved bath time. It was their time to have fun. We gave her a bath and he dried and brushed her hair before he got ready for work,” Rina said.
She described her husband as being passionate about his work and said he was known as a “straightforward, no-nonsense kind of officer”.
“But he was also a kind man who would educate drivers on what they had done wrong before he charged them.”
She said he was proud of his uniform and was extremely neat and was always polishing his shoes, belt buckle and badge.
Rina said that, as a welding engineer, she was a woman who worked in a man’s world and her husband was her rock. “He was my biggest supporter. He always pushed me to prove to myself and everyone around me that I could do anything,” she said.
Rina recounted how, when she had not heard from her husband on Friday night, she waited for him to respond to her last message. However, it was his colleagues who arrived to give her the news.
“When I saw one of Johan’s colleagues at the door, I just knew. I even looked at him and told him that I knew he would one day come to my door like this,” she said.
Rina said that, as a younger police officer, Deysel was always at the forefront and looking out for his colleagues.
“If anything, I expected something like this to happen then. But since the birth of our daughter, he was a lot more careful because he knew he had this little one. I never expected this to happen now,” she said.
Rina said that over the weekend Deysel’s team accompanied her to the scene of the accident, where they prayed together. She said she was grateful to metro police Isipingo and uMlazi and Deysel’s past colleagues, including his current partner Constable Nevesh Nameekumar and his family.
Details for his funeral service have not yet been confirmed.