Olga Munwana is a sergeant at Cleveland SAPS with a passion to serve the public.
She joined the police force in 2003 as an assistant at a client service centre.
Munwana worked at CSC for seven years before she became a sector two manager for a year. In 2011 she moved to social crime prevention, a post she holds until today.
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Growing up, she always wanted to become a social worker. Even though her dream was not fulfilled, her job now relates to that of a social worker.
“It has really been a long journey for me. While I was growing up, it was the norm for most women to become housewives. I never envied that. I always wanted to become an independent woman. I am a police officer but I do what social workers do so I feel that I have reached my goal. I matriculated from Tshiemuemu Secondary School in Venda in 1994. After matric I went to study further in order to pursue my dream.
“I remember taking a taxi to Johannesburg to look for a job in 1999. When I first arrived here I realised that life was not all that I thought it was.
“Things didn’t work out the way I had planned. I didn’t get the job I had hoped for but I did not give up. I didn’t have a driver’s licence and by then most of the jobs that I was applying for needed one. Life here in Johannesburg was too expensive so I decided to go back home to Venda to obtain my driver’s licence,” she said.
After obtaining her driver’s licence, Munwana returned to Johannesburg and applied for a police officer post.
“I got the job and I was sent to Pretoria training college where I was trained for six months. When I joined the police force there were very few women in the industry but that did not stop me from making my mark,” she said.
After spending six months at the police college, Munwana was stationed at Cleveland SAPS.
“I now deal with social crime issues and victim empowerment. I help build homes. I take care of vulnerable and abused children by referring them to social workers and placing them at homes. Most of the children that I help are those who are underage and orphans because they are vulnerable and they are at risk.
“Children who don’t have someone who looks after them are at risk because some community members end up taking advantage of them. When orphans or minors grow up without love, it affects the way they grow up. It is my responsibility to protect them against anything.
“I also do victim empowerment. There is a room at Cleveland SAPS where I give counselling to residents. There are some people who come to the police station to open cases of abuse. Some people prefer talking to me about problems that they have at home. I listen and work closely with Khanyisani home-based care staff members. They also come to the police station to give people counselling.
“I remember there was a time when I was really touched while working on a case. There was a one-year old child who had both parents but the child was staying with her unemployed mother who was homeless.
“The woman used to sleep on the roof level of the block of flats with the child. The child did not have food which affected her. She used to feed her Simba chips. The child did not look like she was a year old. Her skin was like that of an adult as she was not developing well like her peers. I took the child to the doctor and placed her with child welfare,” she said.
Munwana said even though Malvern has become her second home, her job, like any other job, comes with a lot of challenges.
“I work at a 24-hour job and the office must run for 24 hours. Even though I have knocked off at 4pm, I am expected to be at work if there is a case that needs my attention. It doesn’t matter what time it is. I have been doing this for years,” she said.
This married mother of two said her job taught her patience and to love unconditionally.
“My job also taught me to give my children attention. I learnt that not being there for children contributes so much on the way they grow. Even though I work 24 hours, I try my best to be there for my children all the time,” she said.