Initial reports from police stated that a gang of 18 men were involved in the robbery and that an amount of R3.5 million had been taken. Photo: INLSA
Initial reports from police stated that a gang of 18 men were involved in the robbery and that an amount of R3.5 million had been taken. Photo: INLSA

Man fools cops for more than a decade

Time of article published Sep 15, 2011

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A Soweto man, who fooled authorities for more than a decade, has finally been arrested in connection with a 1996 murder, Joburg police said on Thursday.

“I don't know why they (police) didn't detect this person earlier,” Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said.

He was arrested in Jabulani, Soweto, on Wednesday.

Siphiwe Tembe, 33, has been on the police's “wanted list” for 15 years and had used the identity of his late father to avoid prosecution for a murder he allegedly committed as a 17-year-old.

“He was arrested in 1996 and taken to a juvenile facility, but later absconded,” said Makhubela.

A few years later, he was arrested for a house robbery in Parkview.

He lied to authorities and used his father's identity, Solomon Shoba, as his own. He had provided the court with his father's identity document but his father's picture had been replaced with his.

“The court never picked up on this.”

Makhubela was unable to say which court he had appeared in, and exactly which year he was re-arrested.

Tembe was convicted of house robbery and handed an 18-year sentence, part of which was suspended. This week he was on parole, due to end in 2018, when he was re-arrested.

“Through an investigation, we tracked him and arrested him for the 1996 murder,” said Makhubela.

“We found that he is still using his father's name.”

Temba is expected to appear in the Protea Magistrate's Court soon. Additional charges were to be brought against him.

Makhubela said there might have been several reasons why neither the police nor the judicial system picked up on his fake identity.

“Fingerprints take time to verify. If it's not out by the time a ruling is made, a person can get away with it.”

In years past, it could take several months for fingerprints to be verified, Makhubela said.

“There could be a number of reasons why the fingerprints were delayed back then,” he added.

“It could also be that they (the fingerprints) were not clear enough to be verified.” – Sapa

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