ABSTRACT: Anecdote about a practical joke played on a colleague.

Martins Botha Biopic


Martins P Botha is a former member of the SA Railways Police who during the 1980’s served in the Detective Section at Port Shepstone.

SAR Police Cap Badge Bronze transparent background

We as Railways Police also had some fun, some times.

During the early 1980’s our Station Commander, Sgt Graham, went on leave and Sgt van der Merwe came down to Port Shepstone to relieve Sgt Graham.

One evening, Sgt Graham, Constable O’Neil and I had a braai at my home and we decided that we had to let Sgt van der Merwe “feel at home”.

So, we sent him a message that the Station Master at Bongwana needed Police assistance because criminals had broken into the Station. (Bongwana was, actually, only a Halt and no Station).

A while later Sgt van der Merwe pulled into my driveway with a flashing blue light. Hurriedly, he just asked where this place Bongwana is, without giving a reason for asking. So, I dutifully directed him to where Bongwana was, and he left at some speed.

The next morning, when we reported on duty, Sgt van der Merwe asked us if we knew who had sent him a message via a Constable, but of course, we told him we did not know. Those few weeks while he was in Port Shepstone, he kept on trying to find out who had sent him that message, without any luck… it was only on the day he returned to Durban that we told him. Fortunately, he took it in good spirits.

Bongwana is located more than 80km from Port Shepstone, inland towards Harding. If l look at the map today, l cannot believe that the whole NG Railway line (which was fully functional those days), is now only history.

  • Map: A special word of thanks to Bruno Martin
Map of Port Shepstone area

Bongwana is more than 80km from Port Shepstone inland towards Harding.