WHEN it comes to Covid, never drop your guard!
This is the heartfelt call from Major-General Mathapelo Peters of the police.
Peters along with her husband and two children, aged 25 and 13, had to isolate after they tested positive for Covid in May.
Peters said: “I have always been paranoid about the virus. I wear double or triple masks when I go out and I’ve lost colleagues, but I never expected it at home. I dropped my guard, but my sister had it.”
She said she lost her cousin.
“Her death really scared me. I was afraid of sleeping thinking I might not wake up.”
“It takes only a moment to get infected and it can happen to anyone, anywhere. It can be at the restaurant having coffee, or having lunch with family. Through behavioural change and taking the vaccine, we can beat the virus,” she said.
The vaccination programme for police was launched in June, and Peters has since received her jab.
Peters joined the police service in 2014 after leaving the Department of Human Settlements. After undergoing police training, it wasn’t long before she was promoted to Brigadier and serving as the Gauteng provincial police spokeswoman.
She also served as the acting spokeswoman for the Police Ministry when the pandemic first hit.
Peters said it wasn’t easy in the beginning but her nature and work ethic made it possible. She was recently promoted to Major-General.
“It was never about being a police officer but I saw an opportunity to change the public perception of the police,” she said.
“I’m grateful to my husband. At times I knock off very late and he’s learning how to cook.”
She said she personally follow up on cases where complainants are unsatisfied.
“Like any other profession, we do have bad and good personnel but because of the service we render, it matters a lot. We have internal processes of dealing with the problem.”
Peters said police were a target of criminals who want to steal firearms to commit crime. She said many young people were less interested in joining the police and those who did, often only wanted a job.
Peters has a degree in communications science, a diploma in project management, and she’s now doing an MBA.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, watching property and renovation shows, listening to music and reading.