Detective dies of Covid-19 related pneumonia

John George, 48, from Lentegeur, a former Strandfontein police station detective, died of pneumonia as a result of Covid-19.

A Lentegeur father died two days after he posted a prayer on Facebook for all Covid-19 patients to be healed.

John George, 48, from Lentegeur, a former Strandfontein police station detective, died of pneumonia as a result of Covid-19 at Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital on Tuesday December 15, at 6.05am.

The last time his wife, Vanessa, saw him alive was when she dropped him at hospital because he had shortness of breath.

Mr George had been to the doctor on Tuesday December 8 and was treated for a viral infection, told to get tested and to isolate. They sent their 11-year-old son to live with a friend, and Mr George’s mom, 86, went to live with his sister in Delft.

Ms George said her husband only got his positive Covid-19 results on Sunday December 13 but the hospital had been treating him for pneumonia.

“They admitted him and started giving him oxygen,” she said.

“He could hardly talk so he communicated with us via WhatsApp – pictures and typed messages,” she said.

Ms George who has mild flu symptoms went to be tested for Covid-19 at Strandfontein Clinic on Monday December 14.

She is in isolation and said the most frustrating part was not being able to comfort their son.

“I had to tell my son over video chat that his father passed away. I couldn’t go and hug him or anything.”

Ms George said every year during the holidays they would drive the Garden Route, but because of the pandemic and the announcement that the Garden Route was a Covid-19 hot spot they had planned to go to Langebaan next month.

“He loved the long road,” she said. “He was a fun-loving person, always making jokes, and he could be very mischievous sometimes.

“People used to love to have him at parties. They would always ask him to be MC. He always knew how to tell jokes.”

Mr George was a member of the worship team at his church and played the keyboard and base guitar.

The couple married in 2007 and lived in his childhood home.

He grew up in Manenberg before moving to Lentegeur.

After he matriculated from Aloe Senior Secondary, he went to police college. It had suited his disciplinarian manner, Ms George said.

“Criminals were very scared of him, even the taxi drivers. He did not take nonsense. He was very strict with them,” she said.

During his more than 20 years of service as a policeman he worked at Table Bay Harbour police station, Mfuleni, Mitchell’s Plain and Strandfontein where reached the rank of sergeant and bowed out last year.

Captain Clarence Driver, who now works at Lingelethu-West detectives unit, recalled that when he was branch commander at Strandfontein, Mr George was one of his best detectives.

“He was also my second in command. In 2015, I had to step in as the acting station commander, and he was the acting branch commander. We ran the station for about six months.”

Captain Driver said Mr George, or Uncle George as he was known by the kids, was well known. “He loved the kids,” he said.

Taxi drivers took care when they saw Mr George parked on Spine Road, he said.

“One day, one of our clerks was in a taxi on her way to work and she heard the driver receive a call on his cellphone, warning him to drive properly because George was busy writing fines opposite Caltex,” Captain Driver said.

Strandfontein Community Police Forum chairwoman Sandy Schuter said Mr George would visit the homeless, help troubled teens and go out of his way to help people.

He started George Driving Academy, which his wife will now run.

Mr George had known a lot of people, had been well known and had been well loved, his wife said.

“We just liked spending family time together.”

There was a memorial service on Sunday and the funeral was set for Tuesday December 22.