City bids farewell to ‘retired officers’

Mayco member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith, feeds the giemba (greedy one) of the stable some carrots.

Officers Silver, Venus, Misty, Jinx, and Vossie are tapping out after years of dedicated service to the City and its residents.

The City’s mayoral member for safety and security, JP Smith, attended the send-off of the five horses which will be handed over to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA who have been tasked with finding the horses new homes.

The SPCA has a list of more than 40 people who want to adopt the horses and will be conducting interviews to see who matches the horses best.

The Metro police stable will get seven new young horses in the next few weeks.

According to Metro police stable team supervisor, Sergeant Darren Gomez, the horses have been retired because of their age as some of them are over 25 and have been working for years.

“Officer Silver is 25 years old and he was born into the City (so) he’s been owned by the City since birth.

“His mother was one of the City’s best, he’s the oldest of all of them, yet he looks the youngest and people are already fighting to adopt him,” said Sergeant Gomez.

He added that it was bitter-sweet to see them leaving but it was the right time for them to retire so they could enjoy some time off.

The horses, he said, had been on the beat during the 2010 soccer World Cup and had been into gang-related areas, beaches, open spaces, mountains, and schools where they interacted with children. He said to them, they were more than just horses; they were partners.

Mr Smith said the City referred the horses as officers because of their contribution and that through these horses they’ve made massive arrests in the City.

The horses, he added, were trained to stay calm in different situations, for example when a firearm is discharged around them.

“We’re sad to see them go but it’s important that out of their remaining years, they have a calmer and better life without the daily work because they’re getting too old for that now,” said Mr Smith.

SPCAs inspector, Nqabuko Ndukwana said the adoption process had been under way for a while and that they had identified potential new owners. “We’re going to do home checks to ensure that people are able to take care of the horses, We will seek consent from people adopting them to make sure that the service officers are able to visit the horses to see if they’re being well taken care of,” he said.

Mr Smith said in the previous years, the arrangement was that the horses were put down when they could no longer work or if they were too ill.

He said this was the first time they were pursuing adoption and hoped it would serve as a blueprint for other municipalities.

Constable Siya Ngalankulu, the handler of Officer Misty, the only female horse in the stable,said even though he’s been expecting the day for quite some time now, he was sad to be parting ways with Misty with whom he’d worked for four years.

Sharing his fondest memory of Misty, Constable Ngalankulu said: “I remember during an event at Parliament, there was a commotion outside the precinct so we had to use horses to push back the crowd, I was a bit scared but Misty took the lead, leading all the males and for the first time ever, the crowd was pushed back without water cannons and rubber bullets.”

A regular visitor to the stables, Suzanne O’Meara, said she was sad to see the horses leaving, but she was happy they wouldn’t be put down.

“I live around the area and I don’t work, so I’d visit the horses every day and bring them carrots and organic bananas. I just hope they will be well cared for,” she said.