‘Always smiling’ station commander dies

Lieutenant Colonel Jairaj Rameshwarnath will be missed by his colleagues.

Mowbray police are mourning the loss of their station commander, Lieutenant Colonel Jairaj Rameshwarnath, who died suddenly on Sunday morning at the age of 49.

His elder brother Sunjai Rameshwarnath said he died from natural causes on July 20.

Lieutenant Colonel Rameshwarnath was appointed station commander in Mowbray at the end of February (“New station commander appointed,” Tatler, February 26).

He had been part of the police force for 29 years and started his career in Durban. He joined Claremont police in 2013 before moving over to Mowbray police late last year.

Sergeant Dorethea Hattingh from Mowbray police said staff members are very emotional about their station commander’s death.

“The news off his passing has turned our station upside down,” she said.

“He was a commander that would always show his appreciation by thanking members for doing their duties.”

Warrant Officer André Kleynhans said Lieutenant Colonel Rameshwarnath will be remembered for always having a smile on his face and a friendly approach.

“Although we only had the privilege to have him as a station commander for a short period, his command had a positive impact on us.”

Sergeant Renitia Avontuur said he was always calm and more concerned about everyone else instead of himself. “He would resolve conflict in a very tranquil way,” she said.

Senior administrative clerk, Claudelle Kay, who worked in the capacity of personal assistant to the station commander, said he always had a smile on his face and never had a change of personality.

“He was a humble person,” she said.

Ward councillor Patrick Chapple shared his condolences with Lieutenant Colonel Rameshwarnath’s family and friends.

“He and his wife dedicated their lives to the service of South Africa against crime and I especially enjoyed his enforcement of taxi violations especially outside the station,” he said.

Chairperson of the Mowbray Community Policing Forum (CPF), Jonathan Hobday, said he was shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Lieutenant Colonel Rameshwarnath. “ We were just getting to know him and appreciate his friendly personality. We can feel his loss deeply,” he said.

Claremont police members also shared their fondest memories of working with the lieutenant colonel.

Sergeant Wayne Botha said he was not only a commander but also a friend.

“He was excellent to work with and did what needed to be done.”

Sergeant Lutchmee Chetty from Claremont police said he was a commander and a father figure.

“He always gave me good advice regarding my work and had great respect for single working mothers.”

Sergeant Chetty said regardless of his mood, Lieutenant Colonel Rameshwarnath always had the courtesy to ask the other person, “Hello, how are you?”

Claremont CPF chairperson, Abdul Kerbelker, said he was a committed officer who served all members of his community with humility and dignity.

He leaves behind a wife and four children.

The memorial service for Lieutenant Colonel Jairaj Rameshwarnath will be held at the Seven Day Adventist Church, Bollihope Crescent, Mowbray, on Monday July 29, at 10am.