Durban – Umhlali K9 search and rescue police officer, Sergeant Clinton Odayar scooped the title of Integrity Icon South Africa 2019.
Odayar was honoured at an awards ceremony held at the women’s jail in Constitution Hill, Johannesburg on Thursday.
Integrity Icon is a global movement, which was started in South Africa in 2018 by the non-profit organisation Accountability Lab South Africa, to celebrate and encourage civil servants who demonstrate integrity in their work.
Odayar, 38, of Tongaat, and his canine-partner, Dante, were lauded after they rescued a missing 18-month-old toddler near his home in Ntuzuma in 2016.
The child had been missing for three days and was found in nearby bushes.
Odayar was nominated by a member of the community, Tongaat CPF chairman, Nazir Sadack earlier this year.
Speaking about the award Odayar said he was honoured to be recognized as someone with integrity.
“I feel honoured and motivated to have achieved such an award at a national level. Being named and recognised has also inspired me to achieve much more in my career.”
Odayar, who was previously part of the Durban Flying Squad, met his canine sidekick, six-year-old German Shepherd Dante, in 2015. He said there was not an instant connection and that their relationship developed over the weeks.
“Playing with Dante is my favourite past-time. He is all about playing.
“Everything is a game for him, even when it comes to working.
“He is conditioned to search for a human scent, which he believes is searching for a ball, and is a game to him. He also loves to snack on his favourite treat, which is biltong.”