Having served the Woodstock community for the past 17 years, Woodstock police spokesperson, Sergeant Hilton Malila, shows no sign of slowing down.
In 2000, Sergeant Malila walked through the doors of the Woodstock police station as a student constable and hasn’t looked back since.
Sergeant Malila was immediately taken under the wing of Lieutenant Colonel David Samboer at the time, where he learnt how to treat the community with “dignity and respect”, something which he prides himself on.
“During my training period as a student, I learnt a lot of things and especially how to treat my community with dignity and respect. That is how I have gained the respect of the community,” he said.
Sergeant Malila was soon transferred over to the crime prevention unit where he took up the responsibility as the station’s social crime prevention officer.
Between 2005 and 2007, he was then appointed as the sector commander for Salt River, where he established good partnerships and sector crime forums, when community sector policing was introduced.
In 2007, Sergeant Malila was appointed as the station’s communications officer, a position he still holds.
“So I am currently at the station for 17 years now and witnessed various changes in our communities and at the station itself,” he said.
During his time as the social crime prevention officer, he received various certificates of commendation from business entities in the Woodstock precinct and was involved in various social programmes and initiated youth activities within the area.
“Sometimes I feel like putting in a transfer to go and work somewhere else, but afterwards, I rethink it and just tell myself that the Lord will take me away one day here if my work has been done.
“Community members come to my office on a daily basis with personal issues or problems with their children that I need to give them assistance with. I always walk the extra mile for the community and sometimes let my own family down at home to satisfy the community I serve,” Sergeant Malila said.
His vision, he said, is to see the youth of Woodstock become successful businessmen and women.
“One of the things I would like to achieve the most is to turn around all the negative mindsets of the community and to create effective partnerships with our businesses,” he added.
When Sergeant Malila is not around the community, putting a smile on the faces of the citizens he serves, he enjoys spending time with his family, over a braai on weekends and also going to church on a Sunday.
Sergeant Malila is passionate about helping senior citizens and every year, he organises a function where all the senior citizens who live in the Woodstock policing precinct come together in the town hall for some entertainment and laughter.
“We entertain them with a three-course meal and live entertainment throughout the day. Seniors are very close to my heart because a lot of them are just being dumped at old age homes and never see their children or family members again,” he said.