It was a quiet Sunday morning, the sun not out yet, and Constable Jacobus Gelant had just ended his shift. Driving on his way home, he saw a car standing alongside the road and five suspicious characters emerging from behind the trees. A cop remains a cop, even when he is off-duty, so Constable Gelant sprang into action.
Risking his safety, he stopped his car, got out, and walked towards the criminals. After working as a prison warden for 20 years, he knew how to speak the language of criminals. Before the criminals could say or do anything, he “klapped the taal” (spoke in prison language) to make them know that he was not someone they would want to mess around with. Instead of talking back, the criminals got the message and scattered into the dark in fear of their own safety. What he found inside of the car was an Uber driver and a few women who were on the brink of experiencing the unthinkable.
One of the women was a mom from Retreat who had seen her life flash before her eyes. “I saw myself being robbed, raped and killed. I thought I would never see my daughter again,” said the emotional mom.
The mom had been on a night out with her friends and had ordered an Uber taxi to take them home. Along the way, the Uber taxi ran out of petrol at an intersection known for robberies. Almost immediately, criminals started appearing from the trees and came up on the left side of the car. Another group of criminals had started appearing from the other side of the road, running towards the car. The mom and her friends started panicking and she secretly requested another Uber taxi while concealing their valuables from the criminals. During this time, they say two police vehicles passed, but did not stop to help. Luckily for them, a tough cop named, Jacobus Gelant, happened to be passing by and decided to help them. The mom said that after he chased away the criminals, he made sure they got into a new taxi and bought R30 petrol for the Uber driver.
The mom, who does not want to be named, was too distraught to ask for the name of the brave cop, so she contacted IOL to help her find her hero cop. When she finally met him, the mom shrieked, burst into tears, and grabbed and hugged him. She says that if it was not for him, she might not be alive today. Although Constable Gelant says that he was only doing his job, he admits that it does “feels nice to get a thank you.”
The mom also found out that he wasn’t just a part-time hero. In 2016, Constable Gelant was named the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year when he stopped a gang fight.
There are cops, and then there are real cops. Real cops do their jobs on-duty, off-duty, and with or without their guns. Their instinct is to protect the innocent and do so even if they are outnumbered. Constable Gelant is one of those real cops and we should be grateful that he is out there, protecting us.
Source: www.IOL.co.za (edited from an article written by Monique Duval)