Rustenburg - A 25-year-old man, accused of impersonating North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo, pleaded guilty in the Molopo Regional Court in Mmabatho on Wednesday.

Thato Hangari was sentenced to five years imprisonment wholly suspended for a period of three years on condition that he was not convicted of an offence involving dishonesty committed during the suspension period.

He pleaded guilty to the charge of fraud and admitted to receiving money he was not entitled to. He also admitted that he knew he was not acting on the instructions of Mahumapelo and that his actions were unlawful.

Hangari was arrested in Kuruman in the Northern Cape on December 2016,  after he allegedly went around contacting members of the public and government officials pretending to be Mahumapelo, asking money from them to support poor people in need of financial help.

A Member of Parliament in the Western Cape became suspicious of Hangari and contacted the Office of the Premier to alert them.

Mahumapelo welcomed the sentence.

"This must be a lesson to the accused that crime does not pay, I am happy that the law has taken its course," he said. 

The ANC in the North West also welcomed the sentence.

"We are happy with the finalisation of the case and the sentence imposed on Hengari. We hope that this will deter other people who think it is acceptable to tarnish people’s names, especially leaders of the society such as Cde Supra," said deputy provincial leader Sussana Dantjie.

African News Agency/ANA