On Monday the popular police officer, who has been praised for his efforts in reducing gang violence in the precinct, attended his last meeting, said his final farewell and left the police station he has called home for nearly three years.
Joseph, who started his career in SAPS in 1982 as a 21-year-old rookie, says his decision then was sparked by rising crime levels in Grassy Park where he lived at the time.
He laughs as he recalls his first crime scene in Kenilworth, where along with his partner he attended a burglary in progress.
“The guy had climbed a drainage pipe to access the flats, but could not get in. We got there and he was still on the pipe at 5.30am.
“My shift was ending at 6 am that morning, but we waited until 7 am until he couldn’t any more and arrested him when he hit the ground.”
He says during the apartheid years he was one of only five coloured cops stationed at the then predominantly white Claremont Police Station, where they were excluded from lectures and promotions.
“It was never for us coloureds, we were just always meant to be constables,” says Joseph.
“After Claremont, I went to the Bishop Lavis Training College where I served as a shooting and physical training instructor for 10 years.”
Joseph went on to serve in different roles at various police stations across the Cape Flats and in 2013 made a triumphant return to Claremont SAPS as their top cop.
“I was made a full Colonel and the station commander. That was a real achievement for me, knowing what happened back then.”
On 1 October 2016, he was deployed to Manenberg Police Station where he says he faced the toughest challenge of his career.
“My main priority was tackling gang violence. I placed a big emphasis on intelligence on gangs and ensured that each and every gangster who came through these doors was profiled.”
In 2018, the station was rewarded for confiscating the most illegal firearms in the Western Cape and hailed for obtaining the most convictions of skollies under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).
Joseph has also given his support and aided community projects like the first ever Fun Run and weekly mass thikrs, aimed at bringing peace to gang hotspots in the area.
He says while he is looking forward to spending his retirement working with an NGO aimed at uplifting Cape Flats communities through entrepreneurship, he warns skollies not to get excited about his retirement.
“Colonel Sandile Zama will be taking over as the acting station commander and he is supported by a strong, dedicated team who will continue to work hard to fight crime.”