Roebel Botha grew up in a small town in South Africa under very difficult circumstances. He s mother died when he was 14 years old and as he was second oldest he had to take care of his other siblings while his father was working. His oldest brother was already doing his milatary duty as he was 18 years old. Because of circumstances Roebel decided to leave his house and started to work. He became involved with a girl and got her pregnant. He was the responsible kind of guy and decided to join the police force at age 16. He finished his matric in the force and now the father of two did an National Diploma in law administration. At age 33 he was already a Captain in the police force. This is just a brieve summary of a young man that decided life wont get him down.
He attended a SWAT course in 1992 at Tongaat in Kwazulu Natal. It was a 14 day course. The course was presented by Task force which had no mercy when it came to this exercises. The 3rd day of the course Roebel as a gentleman with length 1.69 had to jump over sand bags his hip height and he fell on his neck instead of his shoulder. He felt numb and dizzy but because every manouver was done at a pace he just moved one side so the rest of the team did not land on him. He got up and felt ok to finish the rest of the days excersize. The end off the day he informed his instructor that he fell on his neck and felt dizzy and his answer was that they cant establish a injury in that circumstances as all the participants was unfit and at that stage bruised and bodys was under extreme presure. As he had no pain at that stage he left it there and went on with training the next day.He finished the course and went back to his station in Newcastle KZN. As he landed there the Saturday he informed the Captain that was on weekend duty that he fell on his neck and he advised him to report it Monday to the station comander as he cant do anything about it over the weekend. Roebel reported the insident to his station comander and she informed him that the 7 day reporting period had expired and that she cant lodge a claim. As at this stage he had no pain he excepted her explanation. He s now instructor himself representing the same courses to former members twice to three times a year. He demonstrated that same roll over and over injuring his injured neck just more and more unknowingly. In 1995 he starting to notice a weakness in his left arm and leg. With house penetration he s legs would collapse and cause him to fall. He could not run up hill he s legs would not allow him to do that. He decided to go and see his GP. The GP diagnosed him with PTSD and medication was prescribed. He used that for a while but nothing changed health wise in matter of fact his leg and arm got worse. He did a course one day and explaining the use of a handgranade the object fell out his hand 3 time he picked it up just intime to throw it safely away from him and the team just before it exploded. He then realized that he was a danger to his colleagues and that he must do something drastically to get help.
He went back to his GP and asked for a refurall.
He was refurred to an Neorosurgeon. The Neurosurgeon was so shocked as to what his neck looked like he operated on him right the next day. They did a fusion from the back C4-C6. It instantly improved his movements and weakness in limps was busy subsiding. That was November 1997. He went back to work on full duty on 10 January 1998. On 26 January 1998 he was in a vehicle accident while on duty. He again hit his head and got whiplashed. He finished at the crime scene and left to go to the hospital were he got pain tablets and was recommended to see a physio the next day. He was not booked of duty. He did not feel himself but because he had a operation the previous year which used a lot of his sick leave and his spesialist about 800km away he tried to go on till his next spesialist follow up appointment. He felt a total weakness in his left side again. But this time it went with a lot of spasms and discomfort. He was still doing full duty till the apointment with spesialist. That was almost 3months later in March 1998. With appointment the specialist decided to redo previous operation still same levels but now from the front. Since the accident he was riddled with spasms and the operation did not actually change the symptoms since the accident. He now also noticed that his left foot is busy disfiguring into a claw foot. After operation he could also not return to his job. He was booked of sick till further instructions from spesialist. He was informed by his employer that they lodged an Injury on duty by department labour and due to him being off sick for unknown period the employer decided to do a medical boarding take note not relocating to a milder environment but a medical boarding. At this stage he was only 33 years old. In January 1999 the boarding was finalized and he was on pension of 1/3 of his basic salary. Due to this he lost his wife and children plus the property he bought. He landed up in a caravan in his families backyard addicted to painpills and tranqulisors. He had a foot operation to try and rectify his misformed left foot but was not successful. In this time he was never compensated for his injury in matter of fact its now 22 years of constant fighting to get compensated. He had 2 tribunals were he could not afford a lawyer. The tribunal outcome was both that Roebel had a prexisting injury and the accident was not the cause of his medical condition. The lawyers he did try was just taking money for doing nothing. The one he owes R40 000 which he s paying of at R50 a month. His pension after 22 years is still not at the basic salary range of 1999. He s now wife joined in to his fight for justice so she started a group of injured member s whom were not compensated for their injuries on duty. The group have grown to 68 members at this stage. Charmaine approach the media and only Focus from SABC 2 was prepared to adress the problem with Compensation Commisioner. They did 4 programs on the last Compensation and SAPS was guests but all that came out their mouths was lies and more lies. Nobody is prepared to challenge them on their lies. Charmaine decided to interview a few lawyers to see who will be prepared to help a few broke and broken police members. She saw Jean-Ray Pearton and Nicolette de Witt at the firm Gildenhuys and Malatji a firm situated in Pretoria. Jean- Ray Pearton a bright young advocate emmediatley took on the challenge to help Roebel find justice. He got a High Court date and represented Roebel with such a passion for justice. He won the case with a 60%disability for Roebels condition and Compensation had to put a offer on the table within 30 days. Cost was for each their own. The last 4 days of the 30 days Compensation decided to appeal the case on exactly the same grounds. Please dear people Roebel don’t have the funds for this appeal but he needs justice. 67 Other members needs justice for their injuries. We pray for help to make our lives better. Roebel had 4 foot operations and another back fusion L1 - L2 is mostly wheelchair bound and need a lot of aids to make life easier that his medical aid don’t pay. Please we need urgent help.