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Chilling moments as metro cop closed eyes, died when hit by 'speeding' car

23 April 2020 - 13:28 By Iavan Pijoos and Nonkululeko Njilo
James Xolani Kolo died on Friday after being hit by a car on the R41 road, which links Randfontein and Roodepoort.
James Xolani Kolo died on Friday after being hit by a car on the R41 road, which links Randfontein and Roodepoort.
Image: Supplied by family

Metro police officer James Xolani Kolo blinked one last time when his name was called, before closing his eyes forever.

Kolo, whose nickname was “Bond 007" after the fictional British secret service agent James Bond, died in the line of duty last Friday.

A self-made name tag with the words “James Bond 007” with a South African flag next to it, was visible on Kolo’s uniform when he lay motionless on the ground after being run over by a speeding car.

The accident happened on the R41 which links Randfontein and Roodepoort.

A friend and colleague of Kolo, Rand West traffic chief Kenny Mampondo, said he was called out of a meeting when the accident occurred. He immediately called for emergency vehicles and then went to the scene.

“On arrival the officer was on the ground, his leg was stuck between the bumper and the exhaust of the vehicle that knocked him down.

Mampondo said that when he called his name, Kolo blinked and then was still. “When the first emergency vehicle arrived, the officer had already died,” he said.

Mampondo described Kolo as a funny guy, who loved to crack jokes.

“What I loved most of about him, when I joined the fraternity, he was one the neatest guys. He was always shaved and his uniform was always clean. His shoes shone  like a mirror.

“Because his name was James, he called himself James Bond 007.

“It is always difficult to carry that coffin or send a message to the family. I’ve attended many of these funerals of officers who died in the line of duty, and it never gets easier.”

The 66-year-old Kolo joined the department immediately after high school and had worked there for more than 30 years.

Up to is last day, Kolo always looked forward to his job. According to his sister Nomalanga, he was his “normal self and happy” on the day he died.

“He was OK, laughing, smiling as usual.”  

She said she and her brother had been inseparable.

“He was like my twin, I would not sleep before he returned from work, I would open the gate for him when he came back late. We were very close.” 

Recalling their last moments, Nomalanga said on the morning of the incident, they used her car to travel to work. Kolo dropped him off and said he would later bring back the car.

“I was just working and before I could even think of him coming back, I was told to rush home because something had happened, I never expected to hear that he was no more,” she said in a trembling voice.

She described him as a father who was very protective of his children and family.

In his spare time, he would always be in the company of those he loved.

“We have suffered a great loss as a family. We are heartbroken. He was a people’s person, he loved his job and all those around him,” family spokesperson Mmalerato Ramasikane said.

His family is distraught by the unexpected loss. “We understand that death is natural, but the manner in which he died is painful, it’s easier to let go when a person had got sick, but he didn’t,” Ramasikane said.

Kolo is survived by his wife, three children and two grandchildren.

“They are trying to come to terms with everything, but it is not easy, especially for his wife.

“We are grateful for the support they have shown to us since the day of the incident. Losing a loved one is painful, even worse during this time [lockdown], but they have been with us nearly every day, offering assistance with funeral preparations,” she said.

Rand West City mayor Brenda Mahuma said Kolo understood the “trait of discipline and focus in carrying out his functions”.

“It is not our part to mourn. It is our right and privilege to celebrate the fact that we were blessed with so rare a gift of a fellow community member who was simultaneously a genuine friend, a trustworthy colleague, a disciplined and a human titan who surrendered his life to the cause of all humanity,” Mahuma said.

The prohibiting of large gatherings at funerals added to the family’s pain and sorrow.

“It’s sad because people can’t travel to attend his funeral but we have accepted the situation as it is, as we do not want to endanger people’s lives,” she said.

Kolo was expected to be laid to rest on Friday.