From ambush shootings, to bomb scares and everything in between, Sergeant Wesley Twigg and his colleagues have seen it all in the Steenberg policing precinct.
Earlier this month Sergeant Twigg, Steenberg SAPS’ spokesman, left to take up a communications role at the Western Cape Provincial office.
On Wednesday September 8, the station hosted a farewell celebration for him and two other officers – Warrant Officer Petula Petersen and Captain Andre Petersen who were promoted and had been assigned to other stations.
Sergeant Twigg said it was bittersweet to leave the station. “I’m excited but also a bit scared because I don’t know what the challenges are going to be on that side. But I am up for the challenge to explore and hopefully develop my career.”
With 14 years of service under his belt – 11 of them working in the Crime Prevention Unit and three years as spokesperson – his career started with a three-year stint as reservist at Grassy Park police station.
He recalls tough times behind the badge but also recalls his all-round experience as memorable because of the camaraderie among officers, and helpful communities.
When asked why he had chosen to be a policeman, Sergeant Twigg said contributing to the well-being of communities had always been his top priority.
“This is why I became a reservist and then applied to become a permanent member. Through the grace of God, He protected myself and my colleagues when it was tough outside.”
One of the scariest moments in his career, he said, came in 2018 when he and five colleagues were ambushed and shot at.
“Suspects shot at us in Sonata Street but my colleagues and I were able to use our training and ended up arresting the suspects and recovered a stolen vehicle and a firearm on the day.
“On another occasion we apprehended (suspects) with 10 hand grenades and firearms in Retreat. It was later revealed that they were going to use the weapons in house robberies. That was a major operation that I am proud of because we were able to stop them and made arrests.”
Another moment that will remain with him forever is when his colleague Sergeant Donavan Prince was ambushed, shot and killed in Lavender Hill. No one has been arrested for his murder yet but the investigation is ongoing.
“You have to have hair on your teeth to be a police officer, but I had a very supportive team at Steenberg and I will truly miss them,” he said.
“I will miss the community of Steenberg because I’ve learnt such a lot from them and the interactions with the NPOs, CPF and everyone I have built a relationship with.”
Station commander Jan Alexander said while he was reluctant to let the officers go, he had learnt to be able to release officers to go on and do bigger things.
He wished Sergeant Twigg well in his new endeavours.
Community leader and activist Lucinda Evans said Sergeant Twigg always gave his all. “Thank you for your time at Steenberg, for your contribution to the wider community and the Philisa Abafazi Bethu SA Family centre. We appreciate you and the camaraderie and feedback. We are proud of you and will miss you”.