Neighbourhood watch member was dedicated to serving community

Ganief Thompson, 71, Tafelsig West neighbourhood watch project coordinator and street captain, died on Saturday. With him is his wife, Hajiera.

Tafelsig West Neighbourhood Watch are mourning the loss of one of their long-serving members.

Ganief Thompson, 71, died surrounded by his loved ones at Groote Schuur Hospital on Saturday January 6.

Mr Thompson used to walk commuters to the bus stop or taxi rank during the early hours so they could catch their transport safely.

His wife Hajiera said he had been hospitalised on December 26 and just days before had walked commuters to their taxi or bus.

On Saturday January 7, Tafelsig Neighbourhood Watch members attended his janaaza (Muslim funeral) and handed his jacket to his wife.

Vice-chairman Dennis Abrahams said Mr Thompson had served the neighbourhood watch for about 30 years.

“He was well known for his communication, service and helpfulness.

“He was a chairman, street captain and at the time of his death was the neighbourhood watch project coordinator,” he said.

Mr Abrahams recalled Mr Thompson more than a decade ago walking commuters with his dog between 4am and 8.30am to Kapteinsklip train station “when the trains were still running”.

“Seeing that everyone gets onto the bus and into the taxi to get to work before he returned home,” he said.

He thanked Mr Thompson and his wife for sharing him with the community.

“We thank both of them for their years of service and pray God’s richest blessings upon Mrs Thompson’s life,” said Mr Abrahams.

Ms Thompson told the Plainsman it was her husband’s passion to secure the safety of his community.

“He walked people to the bus stop until recently.”

She said he had a “nice voice” and that each year different nagtroepe (Cape Malay choirs) and minstrel groups would ask him to sing.

He last sang for a group two years ago.

“He liked to sing and play dominoes. He loved being in the community and working with our ward councillor.

“ People would come knock on our door and ask for help, if they were in trouble, there was a child missing and help wherever we were needed,” she said.

Washiela Harris, councillor for Ward 82, including Tafelsig south-west of AZ Berman Drive, said Mr Thompson was a wonderful person.

She fondly called him Papa G and said he came to introduce himself to her two weeks after she became ward councillor in 2019.

He informed her that he was up early in the morning to see that residents were safe at the bus stops.

“He was always very passionate,” she said.

Ms Harris said she was honoured to attend his 70th birthday celebration, with his family and friends.

“He was always the same with his shy smile and his soft-spoken way.

“He would come to check up on us at the office and always encouraged us with his wise words,” she said.

In 2021, Mr Thompson received a civic honour’s award for bravery from Ms Harris.

“He was a worthy recipient. It was an honour to sing his praises as he was a phenomenal man. Going beyond his call of duty. Always assisting, always guiding and encouraging the youth,” she said.