For many Joburg residents, the name Wayne Minnaar had become synonymous with the city, its roads and highways. Whether it was through radio or TV, Minnaar was the face and voice of the Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD).
Minnaar, who kicked off his career in law enforcement as a traffic officer, bid an emotional farewell to his 41 years in the force on Monday. He has been hailed as a principled and dedicated officer who wore his badge with pride. The 63-year-old took his final bow from his duties at a stellar farewell organised by the City of Johannesburg in Martindale near Westbury.
He told Sunday World that it was the love for enforcing the law that saw him remain in the community safety unit for more than four decades, having started his career as a traffic officer on January 8 1981.
Taking us through his journey, Minnaar said his job as a traffic officer had wide-ranging responsibilities, as he had to patrol and watch out for crime, enforce traffic violations, issue fines and ensure citizens were law-abiding. In 1990, he had the privilege of going with a group of officers to Namibia, where they gave support to the former South West Africa when it was granted independence and when its first president, Sam Nujoma was inaugurated.
Minnaar said one of the highlights of his career was escorting the late former president Nelson Mandela when his daughter Zindzi was getting married. In 2008, he was awarded an uncontested media award by the Institute for Traffic Licensing and Metro Police Officers. In 2009, he was still part of the successful and hardworking JMPD. The unit was awarded an accolade for being an innovative law-enforcement department.
In 2010, he was recognised by the City of Johannesburg for his contribution during the 2010 World Cup and received another award for this. Minnaar says he can’t recall how many fines he issued during his long ca- Wayne Minnaar, former Johannesburg Metro Police Department spokesperson, retired after 41 years on the job.
Speaking of his career lows, he said he was once hit by a car while he was on duty and he had to be hospitalised.
This, he said, was the most horrific experience of his storied career. “I was trying to help a colleague of mine while he was stuck in the road, and while we were waiting a car lost control and collided with a bus then it bumped me.
This is when I suffered a fractured rib,” he said. Like many South Africans, this family man loves his football. In his spare time, Minnaar said he enjoyed listening to soulful music with a bottle of wine to “clear off the dust”. He left his fellow officers with this advice: “I hope the officers that remain will remember what I stood for. Police need to understand that our duty is to serve and protect.”
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