Fake top cop exposed
Johannesburg - For months he paraded as a captain from the police’s Crime Intelligence unit. Vusi Makhubela drove his Hummer fitted with blue lights. And to the community in which he worked he was thought to be a reputable officer working on high profile criminal cases in and around Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.
But then it emerged that he was not a police officer. Vusi Makhubela was just impersonating one.
Now the SAPS are appealing to the public to help find his accomplices, who are believed to be real policemen, who have colluded in criminal activities with him.
Makhubela, 47, was arrested in July this year for impersonating a police official.
According to the Office of police commissioner General Riah Phiyega, he worked on a number of major police operations in which arrests were made.
It is thought that most police officials were under the impression that he was based at Crime Intelligence.
Phiyega’s spokesman Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale said on Friday that the suspect had been remanded in custody after his arrest in July.
Last month he was granted R1 000 bail by the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court. His case has been postponed to September 18 pending further investigation.
It is unclear how long Makhubela faked his role as an officer or how long he worked on cases.
It is also not clear why the police did not suspect anything.
But Saturday Star understands he was introduced to the Soshanguve police by an unnamed senior officer.
“Police are given appointment certificates and there are about 200 000 police officers in the force. It is not easy to detect who is legit and who isn’t. It is also not as simple as a station commander walking in with a police officer and everyone questioning and checking his appointment card,” said Makgale when asked how police members were verified within the force.
He could not say if cases Makhubela worked on would be re-opened.
Information on the fake cop comes in the wake of a string of reports about bogus police officers wreaking havoc in the province recently.
This week two members of a gang posing as fake police officers were killed in a shoot-out between real police in Midrand.
The gang had been driving a cloned police vehicle and were disguised as the Gauteng K9 Unit. A chase ensued and they were cornered in the Glen Austin area.
Three of the members were arrested on the spot.
Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko was quoted as saying they had been following the movements on the blue-light gang for some time as they were suspected of having committed several crimes while impersonating police officers.
Meanwhile Makhubela was arrested by a special task team set up by Phiyega.
This is the same team that is re-investigating the mysterious death of five-year-old Oratile Chiloane-Makena after a complaint about his case was laid with the police.
The young boy was killed in a hit-and-run accident in May last year when a Jeep sped down a residential road in Soshanguve.
At the time Oratile was attending a family reunion.
Shortly after his death several twists to the case emerged.
Makhubela’s BMW was allegedly torched at his home. He was supposedly one of the investigators on the case at the time.
It also emerged that a man by the name of Mantshole Moekwa had been paid to lie to the police about being the driver of the Jeep that killed Oratile. Sarah Mothapo was later identified as the driver.
She and her lawyer Confidence Rikhotso, as well as warrant officer Samuel Kgalakgosi, were arrested for defeating the ends of justice.
Vusi Makhubela is also believed to be implicated in the case involving the death of Oratile.
Donald Khoza, Mothapo’s boyfriend, alleged that Makhubela extorted money from them shortly after Oratile’s death in order to “assist” them in evading arrest.
He alleged that they had paid Makhubela close to R80 000.
* Members of the community are requested to come forward with information that could assist in the investigation. They can contact Constable Pillay 082-778-9112 and Warrant Officer Van den Berg 082-412-1513.