SAPS recognises its best at 9th National Excellence Awards ceremony

The man who took down serial killer, Rosemary Ndlovu, Sergeant KB Mabunda was awarded the Police Minister’s Special Award and promoted to captain. Photo: SAPS

The man who took down serial killer, Rosemary Ndlovu, Sergeant KB Mabunda was awarded the Police Minister’s Special Award and promoted to captain. Photo: SAPS

Published Feb 17, 2024


The South African Police Service (SAPS) held its 9th National Excellence Awards in Midrand, Gauteng on Friday.

The awards were held at the the Gallagher Convention Centre to reward employees, reservists and Community Police Forum (CPF) structures who displayed excellence, dedication and extraordinary commitment in the execution of their daily duties and beyond, during the 2022/2023 financial year.

The attendees included Police Minister Bheki Cele; Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni; Deputy Minister of Police Cassel Mathale; Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka; national commissioner of police General Fannie Masemola and various other distinguished guests.

The police said these awards encourage innovation and reinforce a culture of excellence in its organisation to ensure all employees continue to deliver professional service to communities.

Lieutenant Colonel J Coetzer was awarded the National Commissioner’s Special Award. Photo: SAPS

The theme for this year’s awards was “encouraging innovation and rewarding excellence”.

This year, 47 award categories included admin employee of the year; high-risk member of the year; detective and forensic member of the year, woman of the year, CPF of the year, person with disability of the year, and station of the year.

Cele and Masemola presented additional awards in the special awards category.

The high-risk member of the year award went to Lieutenant Colonel JL Santi, who is the operational commander of Parkroad Tactical Response Team (TRT) in the Free State. Santi oversees 57 operational members.

His leadership resulted in 141 arrests and the seizure of counterfeit money valued at over R800,000 during the 2022/2023 financial year. Santi was also voted as this year’s laureate award winner and received a brand-new vehicle.

Lieutenant Colonel JL Santi the Operational Commander of Parkroad Tactical Response Team (TRT) in the Free State is this year's Laureate Award winner. Photo: SAPS

The police minister’s special award went to Sergeant Keshi Benneth Mabunda who was also promoted to the rank of captain.

Mabunda is known for taking down fraudsters, and rose to stardom as the police officer probing high-profile cases including that of serial killer Rosemary Ndlovu. Most recently, he also arrested a woman linked to the murder of her cousin and biological son in the North West.

A constable based in Free State, who cannot be named for security reasons, was awarded the police minister’s special award and promoted to the rank of warrant officer.

“This police officer is the one who raised the alarm and alerted SAPS’ organised crime investigation team of a woman collecting dead bodies in Bloemfontein. The woman was Dr Nandipha Magudumana,” according to the SAPS.

Sergeant M Rapakgadi was awarded the police minister’s special award. Rapakgadi is a detective attached to Gauteng Serial and Electronic Crime Investigations (SECI) who investigates serial rapists and offenders involved in child pornography.

To date, the SAPS said Rapakgadi has secured 57 life terms and an additional 3,074 years in prison for 17 serial rapists.

Lieutenant Colonel J Coetzer received the national commissioner’s special award.

“Coetzer was part of a take-down operation that dismantled a cash-in-transit (CIT) gang in Makhado last year, and 19 suspects were shot and killed during this operation. Coetzer was injured during the shootout,” the SAPS added.

During the shootout, Coetzer was shot in the leg which was later amputated following medical intervention.

The station of the year award was scooped by SAPS Port Nolloth, which was recognised as the top performing station in the Northern Cape, surpassing set targets and achieving outstanding results in various key areas.

The station received a remarkable 100 percent rating in the crime prevention environment, making it the best-performing station in crime prevention in the province and across the country.