Brig N G (Natty) Govender enlisted into the South African Police with the intention of becoming a motor technician. However during that period, non-whites were not allowed to serve in the technical section. Brig H Badul assisted him in gaining admission to the SAPS uniform branch at Glendale.
After completing his basic training at the famous Wentworth Police College, where he was awarded the trophy for the Best Student of the Troop, he was identified for his exceptional abilities. He subsequently remained at this training college as an instructor/tutor in musketry, physical training, drill and as a law lecturer on the permanent staff. It was a privilege, as only a negligible percentage qualifies for this position. His emphasis was on super fitness, precision and discipline of an extreme high standard.
Several hundreds of South African Indian police officials served under his tutelage, including myself. He was my troop sergeant. We later developed an extremely close relationship and became close friends - we were known as brothers for the past 33 years. Many who trained under him have attained commissioned officer status and a few are still serving as generals to this day.
Brig Natty Govender was a strict disciplinarian and likewise demanded the very best from his students. Young boys, enlisting from school, were trained to be men that were to be reckoned with and became the first line of defence in our country. He also served as an instructor at the new training police establishment in Chatsworth. He served as an instructor/tutor from 1981 to 1991 at both Wentworth and later at Chatsworth.
He was the second Indian police officer who officiated as a parade commander at the famous Durban Military Tattoo, the first being the late Capt D J Lamech, who had this honour. This is an honour only these two Indian police officers could boast about.
Brig Govender was transferred to Gauteng where he spent three years at Lenasia and Kliptown as the Station Commander. He was later transferred to Durban as the Provincial Head of Organisational Development and Strategic Management, where he served as Head of Management Services until his retirement.
Eight medals and decorations were awarded to him over the past 38 years.
Once again this is a loss of unique skills and experience acquired through years of on the job experience, to an essential service which unfortunately will not be easily (if ever) replaced.
Brig Govender has also travelled abroad pertaining to the improvement of his work, visiting Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy among others.
Brig Govender, on behalf of the Association of Retired Police Officers Pietermaritzburg and Durban, we acknowledge your enormous contributions to the SAPS, South African communities and particularly to the individual Indian policemen and -women with whom you worked during your tenure at both Wentworth and Chatsworth Police Training Colleges. We convey our sincerest congratulations, goodwill and blessings to you. We wish you good health and prosperity. We also look forward to your joining our ranks in the New Year. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be associated with you, Sir. Good luck and God bless!