They always say heroes wear capes, but not in Joburg. Jozi heroes certainly wear Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department uniform.
One such hero is Officer Evans Lebepe, who assisted a woman give birth in the Johannesburg CBD this week.
Lebepe was on foot patrol with fellow officer Danny Ledwaba when they were alerted to a woman giving birth near the Bree Taxi Rank. The pair rushed to the spot and found the woman in labour. The officers called an ambulance, however, Lebepe went beyond the call of duty to help deliver the baby before the arrival of the ambulance.
“While waiting for the ambulance, I decided to step in because the lady was just about to give birth. I have the training and experience, so I knew I could successfully intervene,” Lebepe said.
Although he was worried about the possibility of things going wrong and potentially jeopardising his job, he could not be merely a bystander. “Things like this do go wrong. I was anxious about whether the baby would be born fine. Although I knew I would be able to perform CPR if the situation demanded me to, I kept thinking of the probability of losing my job if the situation went sideways,” he said.
Fortunately, things went according to plan and the woman gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Both mom and daughter were taken to hospital by ambulance. The mother was elated, Lebepe said.
“There was a group of women who surrounded the mother with blankets to protect her from spectators – some of whom seemed to be recording the delivery of the baby on their phones. After the baby was born, the women suggested that she should be named Brianna because she was born in Bree. When I asked them why the name had an ‘ana’, one of them said she liked the name Rihanna, so it was a combination of the two,” Lebepe chuckled.
Officer Ledwaba said he was scared of helping the woman as it was the first time he had been in such a situation but his fears were allayed by the fact that his partner had experience.
The Acting Chief of the JMPD, Ms Angie Mokasi, lauded the two officers for their gallantry and said that their actions were reflective of their commitment to always serve the City of Johannesburg and its residents with passion and valour.
“This was indeed a commendable deed. We are proud to have such officers of fine mettle in the JMPD. They have proven their pledged devotion to serving and protecting the citizens of this City. I wish to express my appreciation to them both, not only on behalf of the department but also on behalf of the City of Johannesburg,” the Acting Chief said.
“Let me also extend my congratulations to the mother on the birth of her healthy baby girl. I wish them both good health,” Mokasi added.
Residents heaped praises on the two officers on social media, labelling their actions as noble. Bernarxd Mehl Emamba wrote on Facebook, “Bravo to JMPD officers. They are not only protecting the community but also saving people’s lives.”
This was echoed by Makuhani WA Makuhani who said: “We salute you officers, as community members, we really appreciate your dedication.”