Durban man's woes: ‘Someone in prison has stolen my identity'

By Bukeka Silekwa Time of article published Jan 16, 2020

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Durban - “We can’t hire you. You should be in jail, serving a 10-year sentence for hijacking.”

These words sent a Durban man on a quest to find out how another man with his name and identity number was serving time in Westville Prison.

Philani Bongumusa Ngubane, 35, of Klaarwater in Mariannhill, is a truck driver. He said he was applying for a job when he was told he had a criminal record and he should be in jail.

Ngubane said he started an Uber e-hailing business in February 2018.

“I hired drivers to operate the cabs while I do my full-time job. When I am off or on leave, I would take over one of the cabs and give a driver leave.”

Ngubane remembers leaving his driving licence in one of his cabs, but said he never thought much of it because he had another licence with his public driver’s permit that he used because of his job as a truck driver. “I forgot about it.”

Ngubane later heard that one of his drivers, who had driven the car in which he had left his licence, was arrested when he was off duty.

“I never followed up on his case because what crime he did was not done during his work time. Last year when I was applying for a new job, I was told I had a criminal record and that I couldn’t get the job,” he said.

Ngubane went to the police to get more information about “his” criminal record and was shown a file with a case number and his identity details, but with the picture was of his former driver who was arrested. He said he was told the driver was in prison.

“I tried to explain to Verulam police officers that the man must have used my driving licence, and that is how my identity had been cloned. I have tried all I can to resolve the issue.

“I have been sent from one police department to another. In Verulam I was told to speak to a detective dealing with the case, but he couldn’t help me.”

Ngubane said he ended up trying to find the true identity of the man using his name. He said he found a lead that sent him to Greytown, where he found the man’s parents, who identified him as Mmeli Misumuzi Gumede and gave him copies of Gumede’s ID book.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said Ngubane should see the Verulam detective branch commander for assistance.

Daily News

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