A well-known Cape Flats policeman is calling it quits after 26 years of hard service.
Captain Joe Wilson from Belhar has been the communications officer at Delft Police Station for the past 16 years.
But now his days of visiting the scenes of child murders, gruesome accidents and gang killings are over.
Captain Wilson turns 60 this month, and retires as a qualified teacher with an additional degree in policing under his belt.
Last week, he bid an emotional farewell to his colleagues and the community which he has faithfully served at The Hague Recreational Hall.
When he wasn’t visiting crime scenes, “Papa Joe” educated the unemployed on how to build their own business.
Wilson says he has seen policing evolve and change over the decades after being stationed at four different cop shops.
Before taking his oath to protect and serve, he owned a private security company.
Papa Joe says: “But it was in the 1980s during the heart of apartheid and it was difficult on the job market.”
He was a police reservist for 12 years before taking up his first post at Bellville Police Station in 1990.
He was also the station commander at the satellite police station in Belhar for five years.
Wilson says being a cop on the Cape Flats is a tough job.
He recalls a horrible moment along Symphony Way in Eindhoven 15 years ago, where five young people were trapped in a bus after an accident.
“We could still hear them screaming for help and we listened as the screaming stopped,” he says.
“Here in Delft, we found two missing children who were murdered, Joey Joseph, three, and Kim Abrahams, six, in 2005. They never really leave you.”
Wilson, who is married with three grown-up children, says he will now have all the time in the world for his favourite hobbies – hunting and bowling.
His successor, Warrant Officer Brian Daniels says Wilson will be missed: “I have big shoes to fill. He knows I’ll be calling on him and we wish him well for the future.”