Crime-fighter was a mother to all

Veronica Cloete, the deputy chairperson of the Beacon Valley sub-forum of the Mitchells Plain Community Police Forum, passed away on Wednesday April 8.

Veronica Cloete, the deputy chairperson of the Beacon Valley sub-forum of the Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum who passed away earlier this month, was not just a crime-fighter but she was also a mother to all who knew her.

Ms Cloete, 68, from Beacon Valley suffered a severe and fatal heart attack on the morning of Wednesday April 8.

Her husband Richard said the day before she had had an appointment at the eye clinic in Kuils River at 10.30am. Here she was also tested and cleared for Covid-19.

“She came home, slept and later prepared the fish for Good Friday. She waited for her favourite soapie 7de Laan and a new programme after that. Her time to come to bed was 10pm but she came to bed and said her chest was paining,” he said.

“The pain became severe, she asked our daughter Erica Williams to pray for her and asked the family to join her,” Mr Cloete said.

They rushed her to Mitchell’s Plain Community Health Care Centre in Eastridge in the early morning hours but she had a heart attack in the car that was fatal.

Mr Cloete said his wife loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren very much. Ms Cloete was a grandmother of 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

“The neighbours in our street saw her as a mother. Most of the younger children in the street she enrolled at school as most of their parents were working at the time,” he said.

Ms Cloete, who completed a certificated counselling course in 2003 with the Family and Marriage Society of SA (FAMSA) in Athlone, put her skills to use in the community, being part of the victim support unit at Mitchell’s Plain police station where she helped victims of abuse.

A crime-fighter for more than 11 years, Ms Cloete was also a founding member of the Beacon Valley Bambanani project, which consisted of volunteers safeguarding the community in various ways.

“She was always for the community; she did not refuse to help people. She would counsel the victims of abuse and crime if they needed it,” said Mr Cloete.

Daughter Annelise Jantjes said her mom had an open-door policy.

“My mom would give her last. She would help those who needed assistance with rent, rates, to name a few. She used her own money to help who she could. She gave so much of herself to other people,” she said.

Ms Cloete did flowers, decorations and arrangements for special occasions.

Those who could not afford to pay for it, would invite her to their functions so that she could do the flowers.

As a tribute to their mom, her daughters did the flowers for her funeral and burial in Retreat on Friday April 17.

Adam van Wyk, chairperson of the Beacon Valley sub-forum, said Ms Cloete was the deputy chairperson for many years and was one of the founding members of the sub-forum.

“She was a straightforward lady when it came down to work. She didn’t speak much but she was a doer. She did outstanding work, especially when we were out. She also loved working with the children of the community,” he said.

“Our mother volunteered her life to others,” said Ms Williams. “She received many certificates for all her hard work and dedication to people.”

Mr Cloete said his wife’s wish was for volunteers to at least receive a stipend for their work.

The family will host a memorial service for Ms Cloete after the lockdown period for those who could not attend the funeral because of lockdown regulations.