Meet WO Esterhuizen: A POP trainer, medic, nyala and water cannon operator
The all-rounder with 31 years of uninterrupted service is a training instructor in the public order police environment, a trained medic who first started with a basic ambulance course.
Warrant officer Esterhuizen. Picture: SAPS
As South Africa continues to celebrate Women’s month, the South African Police Service (SAPS) has also honoured one of their own. Warrant Officer Esterhuizen is evidently thriving in this male-dominated space as she also is a Public Order Police (POP) trainer, medic, a nyala and water cannon operator.
Losing her mother at the age of three and being raised by her father affected her career choice, according to the SAPS.
“The all-rounder with 31 years of uninterrupted service is a training instructor in the public order police environment, a trained medic who first started with a basic ambulance course. Her instructors at the College where she was studying were so impressed with her theory and practical results that they encouraged her to study further to broaden her knowledge.”
“Her next training was in medical rescue where she attained a level 5 qualification. Her thirst for knowledge saw her completing a three-month level 7 immediate life support (ILS) qualification that led to her getting a license.”
Esterhuizen used her code 10 driver’s license to drive the then casspir and later nyala. The nyala is an armoured vehicle used by police during raids and public protests.
She also drives and operates the water cannon which cannon shoots a high-velocity steam of water and is often used in crowd control management to disperse large crowds.
The warrant officer is also armed with courses in crowd management and is a resident trainer at the Western Cape public order police unit.
“From an early age she learnt to be at the forefront. Warrant Officer Esterhuizen loves the POP environment working alongside her male counterparts. No task is ever daunting for her. She is currently busy with a training course for the new generation inyala, a task she cherishes in the quest to leave a lasting legacy in the POP environment.”