MIDDELBURG NEWS - The death of Middelburg's acting station commander and detective chief, Captain Andrew Leslie, came as a shock to his family, colleagues and the community when he died on 11 May in Wilhelm Stahl Hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.
Less than three days later, the Eastern Cape Department of Health (ECDH) ordered all funeral arrangements to be revoked for 23 May, and the deceased captain had to be put to rest within 48 hours, due to Covid-19 legislation.
Andrew's wife, Colette, said she received a call the Wednesday morning from the ECDH, just to hear that her beloved husband would be buried the next day. She was told that they will phone her to bring the family and bury him immediately.
"At about 1.30pm on 14 May, I received the call. Our close family went down to the graveyard, just to find the coffin wrapped in thick plastic, with only the burial service staff ready to lower the coffin," Colette said.
A police colleague, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Advertiser that it is a disgrace to bury a man in such a way. "He served his country on the frontline, facing death nearly daily and was respected as the commander. We could not even be there to salute the officer; the last salute he deserved," the colleague said.
His wife was nearly speechless, as she wanted to have a proper funeral for Andrew on Saturday.
Siyanda Manana, spokesperson for the ECDH, could not be reached for comment.
Colette said Andrew started complaining of fever on Monday 4 May. He was tested for Covid-19, and the test results came back positive on 8 May. "His condition worsened, but he refused to be admitted to hospital," said Colette. Monday evening, he could barely breathe and was taken to hospital. Awaiting an ambulance from Bloemfontein, he died shortly after 7pm.
The police station was immediately closed, with all police members, friends and family tested. When going to press the results were not yet available.
The National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Khehla John Sitole, described Andrew as brave and exemplary, as well as a member who served and protected the South African people with utmost diligence.
"On behalf of the entire SAPS family, I would like to personally pay tribute to him for placing his life on the line to ensure that the people of South Africa are protected against crime, as well as against this virus", said Sitole.
Andrew is described by family and friends as a man who loved and lived for his family, and those in need.
He is survived by Colette, his son Curcley (23), and his daughter Adrulishé (12).
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