Traffic officer Ludeke – champion for all

HARD work. Determination. A willingness to help the community and a love for animals – these are the values and principles that define Suzette Ludeke, an exemplary traffic officer who believes in making a difference in the Bay.

Ludeke often goes beyond the call of duty to protect and serve.

Growing up in Grahamstown, Ludeke discovered her profound love for animals.

“I grew up with my pets on a plot in Grahamstown and had a love for animals ever since.

“I once had 13 dogs and I think of my pets as my children. They should always be loved, protected and cared for.”

The turning point in Ludeke’s life was when she applied to become a traffic officer.

“I worked as a secretary for André Joubert at Old Mutual after leaving school and he encouraged me to apply for a traffic officer position. When I got the job, I knew I was destined to serve as a traffic officer to help protect the community.

“Sometimes people think that I’m extremely strict, but I take my job very seriously to protect the city and I don’t favour anyone.”

Ludeke’s compassion and sense of justice motivated her to become involved in the rescuing and protection of animals in the Bay.

On her very first day as an official traffic officer, she pulled over Beverley Rademeyer from Animal Anti-Cruelty League in Stanford Road.

“Beverley told me that she was on her way to free dogs that were tied up and I decided to go with her. I have never seen animals treated so cruelly in my life.

“From that day I became involved with Animal Anti-Cruelty League and had a newfound passion for animal rescue.”

She recently freed captured tortoises in Motherwell. “Someone posted a picture of a tortoise for sale and made a joke that in Motherwell they only need tortoises to protect their dogs. I went to the place where the tortoises were held and took them away.

“It’s against the law to keep them. And since January 2017 up until now, I’ve freed nearly 1 500 tortoises in our metro.”

Ludeke has stepped beyond the role of a traffic officer in the Bay and set a benchmark of courage for others.

“I love to serve my community and you will always see me talking to the residents. As a traffic officer, I meet a lot of people with different backgrounds and personalities.

“My parents don’t want to go to the shops with me anymore because I will always talk to everyone who knows me.”

Because her passion for justice goes beyond her uniform, Ludeke works around the clock to protect the residents of the city and its animals.

She recently came to the aid of a local petrol attendant who was the victim of a customer who had driven off without paying.

Ludeke found out that the attendant had to pay more than R1 000 out of his own salary to foot the bill and immediately arranged a fund-raising initiative to help him. The amount raised was nearly R4 000.

Ludeke believes that as a traffic officer, her duty is not only to protect residents on the roads, but also to help those in need and serve as a peacemaker in her community.

“When I go home at night, I want to know that I at least meant something and did something for the day.

“I don’t want to be a person that runs away from a challenge. I want to seize it.”

As a female traffic officer, it was not always easy to climb up the ladder. She is the head of a unit in which all her colleagues are men.

“I take every day as it comes and what happened yesterday is in the past. I love my job and would not trade it for anything.”