We salute Brig Mauritz "Happy" Schutte who was born on 4 September 1951, but was called for higher duties to be with his Lord and Saviour, our God Almighty on 9 October 2019, succumbing to the illness of cancer. He executed his duties on earth to his family, while in service of the SAPS and while on retirement with honour, commitment, dedication and love. He respected and treated everyone the same, immaterial of who they were - with respect, dignity, professionalism and friendliness - but firm, strict, no nonsense when need be. I never ever saw him angry. He had strong Christian beliefs and strong principles … from which he refused to divert.
Brig "Happy" Schutte was born in Bethlehem in the Free State, grew up in De Aar in the Northern Cape and had two brothers and three sisters. After meeting the love of his life, Johanna "Meisie" Bester, they got married on 5 December 1975 for a fantastic 43 years. Next to every successful, happy man is a strong, loving and supporting woman and Meisie was that woman to Brig Happy. Their three wonderful children, Maritza, Monzette and Marnitz made them the proud grandparents of seven grandchildren namely Caitlyn, Chris, Craig, Carla, Estie, Markus and Emma.
"Happy" joined the SA Police and commenced his training on 6 January 1969 at the Pretoria training college. After he completed his basic training, he was posted at John Vorster Square Police Station (now Johannesburg Central) at the end of 1969. He was promoted to sergeant on 1 July 1971 and warrant officer on 1 July 1975.
With the establishment of the Riot Unit during 1976, he was transferred to the Johannesburg Diepkloof (Unit 2) Riot Unit where he was promoted to lieutenant on 1 November 1978 and captain on 1 January 1983. His promotion to major on 1 February 1989 led to his transfer to the Riot Unit (Unit 5) West Rand as unit commander. On 21 July 1989 he completed the riot and crowd management officers training. Thereafter he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel on
1 July 1991; colonel on 1 April 1993 and to director (brigadier) on
1 December 1995 when he became the Provincial Head of Public Order Policing - a position he held until his retirement on 30 September 2011 after 42 years and 268 days' service.
Happy Schutte rendered border duties in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) and Namibia (SWA) between 1970 and 1975 and again in 1979.
During the course of his four decades of service he was awarded the following medals:
Medal and bar for combating terrorism; medal for ten years' faithful service; the SA Police Star for faithful service - 20 years; the SA Police Star for merit - 30 years' service; the SAPS 40 years loyal service medal; the 75 years anniversary medal; the ten year commemoration medal; the amalgamation medal and the 2010 Soccer World Cup support medal.
Brig Schutte represented the SAPS in 2006 on a visit to Germany in preparation for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup and in 2007 on a visit to Beijing for a closed-door seminar on international security cooperation for the 29th Olympic Games Beijing.
Brig Schutte was the overall commander, Gauteng for the very successful 2009 FIFA Confederation Cup and the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. In addition, he was involved in various major events including the World Summit on Sustainable Development, International Cricket Council World Cup, International Cricket Council Twenty 20, International Cricket Council Champions Trophy and the Indian Premier League.
From his early years, he not only got the younger, junior members motivated to participate in sport, but was a keen participant himself. He completed many road races, cross-country events, 11 Comrades marathons and obtained his green number, as well as the 94.7 cycling challenge in 2004. He even competed in the "Iron Man" competition. He competed in many SAPS national practical shooting championships and was the chairperson of the Gauteng SAPS shooting club for six years. He was also an active scuba diver for 16 years.
On a lighter note: Happy was crazily mad about ice cream.
Brig (ret) Happy Schutte's funeral on 18 October 2019 was attended by many serving and former serving members from the rank of constable to general, civilian personnel as well as other law enforcement officials.
I am honoured to have known him since the rank of warrant officer and his wife Meisie since December 1977 when I started to serve under his command at the Riot Unit (Unit 2) as a young 19-year-old constable. I would like to thank him, with the help of his wife, for playing a big role in my career.
Rest in peace our commander, colleague (brother in arms) and friend - a great compassionate, respectful man who will not be forgotten by those who crossed his path.
We salute you!
Lt-Col (ret) Viscount C O’Farrell PCF
(On behalf of those who knew Brig Schutte)