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HEROES AGAINST CRIME (article first published : 2007-01-26)

On January 28, M-Net will screen a special that should be watched by all South Africans. In Heroes Against Crime, viewers will meet a group of extraordinary people who have done heroic deeds to combat crime.

As part of a big campaign to stop crime, family magazines You, Huisgenoot and Drum invited their readers last year to nominate every-day heroes from whom ten finalists were chosen. The winner walked off with R100,000 and the two runners-up with R50,000 each. The top ten are an incredible group of men, women and children who have made a difference in the lives of others through their bravery, selflessness and courage:

Colin de Bruyn had 14 years of police service experience when he sacrificed his own safety to rescue a family being held hostage. He was shot in the head – and although he survived, his life will never be the same again.

Nicholaas Sauls spent 31 years in jail for various convictions ranging from housebreaking to drug-peddling, but has turned over a new leaf. He is now active in a voluntarily patrol unit and was instrumental in turning an attempted rapist over to the police.

Saeed Ruiters is a teacher who says that his learners are the real every-day heroes. He is an active member of his neighbourhood watch and was able to save a learner from being threatened by three armed attackers.

State prosecutor, George Pieterse, fights for justice every day – but is a hero out of court as well. Without thought for his own safety, he suffered stab wounds when defending a woman who was being attacked by a gang of armed men.

Sandra Lamola is a police reservist who fearlessly rescued a farm worker from a brutal beating before police arrived on the scene.

Pastor Gordon Claasen decided something needed to be done about the gangs in his area. Thanks to his active campaigning, a number of mislead gang members have changed their lives, turning away from drugs and crime.

At the age of 16, Donovan Swanepoel (now 19), found himself and his family in the middle of an armed house breaking. Despite being beaten repeatedly with a sjambok, Donovan was able to protect his family and get them to safety.

Chris Herbst Jnr was forced to protect his pregnant wife and two young children when they, too, were victims of a violent house breaking. Despite being stabbed and shot in the jaw, Chris managed to protect his 6-year-old son and get his 12-year-old daughter out of the house to safety.

Thulani Dlamini started an anti-crime campaign that encourages children to get involved in sport. He says that people shouldn’t have to live in fear and he proved this by ensuring that a young girl who needed help was removed from her abusive situation at home.

Cousins Nnaki, Phontso, Tsepo, Ephraim and Bakang Ramade had been warned about suspicious strangers on and around their farm. When one of the boys noticed a man with a gun, the cousins were able to warn adults on the farm. Their quick-thinking and awareness saved them and their family from a violent situation.

One of these ten finalists will walk away with R100,000 for their unselfish actions. On top of that, each finalist has been linked with a celebrity – and the winning finalist’s celeb will also receive R50,000 to donate to a crime-fighting organization of their choice.

Heroes Against Crime will be screened on M-Net on January 28 at 17h00.




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