Leading lady in the workplace

AUGUST is a month to celebrate the historical women who marched to the Union Buildings on August 9, 1956 against the unjust passed laws imposed on the citizens.

Apart from women’s remarkable role played in the community, some women have stretched their wings into higher positions in the workplace and secured positions that were previously dominated by men.

Colonel Santha Moodley is one of these women, being the station commander for Tongaat SAPS.

Moodley has 33 years of service in the SAPS and is the overall head of the station with three components directly under her command, these being visible policing, detective services and support services.

Visible policing is responsible for crime prevention and community service duties; detectives are responsible for crime investigation, apprehension of suspects and ensuring they are brought before court for prosecution; and support provides administration, supply chain management, finance and human resource management functions for the organisation, internally and externally.

In explaining her duties, Moodley said: “It is the responsibility of the station commander to ensure these functions are executed effectively and efficiently.

“Over and above that, the station commander attends to community meetings, complaints against police, internal meetings, etc.”

She said being a station commander is a constant challenge. “You deal with anything and everything, and not just crime. You deal with people who need assistance with misbehaving children, neighbours encroaching on each other’s property, civil agreements not being honoured, etc,” she said.

Moodley believes that women are still not well represented in the workplace, especially in senior positions.

“Although many inroads have been made with regards to equality, I believe women are still seen as inferior or incapable of leading and commanding. It is still very much a man’s world.

“To this day, many people are surprised that the station commander is a woman. Also many women still do not believe in their own capabilities and awesome power, and still believe they need to prove themselves,” she said. However, she said that within the SAPS many inroads have been made to ensure women are represented in higher positions.

“There are several women Lieutenant Generals and Major Generals in the organisation who manage divisions and components. So I would say the SAPS is one of the front runners in moving forward with gender equality,” she continued.

Her theme for this Women’s Month is, “Know your worth and own it. All things are possible”.

She said being a member of the SAPS is a calling and anyone willing to join the force must be passionate about serving and protecting.

“The salary is not the greatest but it is livable, and the rewards of being able to make a difference are priceless.

“SAPS is a growing, evolving organisation with the basic [function] of crime prevention and investigation. Then you get specialist environments such as forensics, K9 unit, protection services, border policing, air wing, information technology, supply chain management and many more.

“If you are committed, want to work with people and make a difference, then join the SAPS family,” she added.

Her colleagues described her as a go-getter and a “no nonsense” person.

Captain Patrick Ngwane said he has learnt a lot under Moodley’s leadership.

“She runs a station perfectly and I think she proved to her male counterparts that women are competent in higher positions.

“She goes beyond the call of duty as the station commander and attends complaints to ensure that the station under her leadership runs efficiently and is represented in the community,” Ngwane said.