Pretoria - Police Minister Bheki Cele had vowed that the so-called Mamelodi Number 1 Tsotsi, Vusi “Khekhe” Mathibela, would be arrested yesterday.
However, the man accused of extortion within the taxi and business fraternities came out to clear his name during an interview on PowerFM. But many people who commented after the interview were not convinced of his innocence.
Nonetheless, Mathibela said all allegations against him were false.
“You cannot have a situation where a person is implicated in thousands of things, but there is not even a single person who comes forward to say ‘Yes, he took money from me’,” he said.
Government officials in recent months said the mere mention of his name struck fear into the hearts of taxi operators and business people.
They claimed he was a taxi boss and hitman, and accused him of running an extortion ring that forced entre- preneurs to pay him a protection fee.
Mathibela said he had approached Mamelodi East police station in October and met a “Brigadier Matala” and his executive in a bid to iron out the allegations against him.
“I told them that my name was being dragged through the mud for things I’m not involved in.
“They said there was a problem about me carrying illegal guns in brought daylight, up and down and wherever I went to.” He said he then asked the police to clear the guns that of his security company, which does VIP protection. He said no wrongdoing was unearthed.
Asked why he was being implicated in extortion and bad business practices, he said he owned lots of business. He claimed that during business meetings he did not shy away from addressing pressing matters and was not easily intimidated.
“Maybe people are gunning for me because I called a spade a spade. They are pushing a propaganda using my name.”
On Friday, Cele introduced a 100-strong crime combat and reaction team and tasked it with protecting Mamelodi residents from criminality.
The unit will be stationed in the township until the community and police are satisfied that the operation has significantly reduced crime.
Cele said they would not be held hostage by Mathibela.
At the time, Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane had described Mathibela as "a dog" that should not be allowed to intimidate the people of Mamelodi.
But Mathibela yesterday said the fee that taxi drivers were paying was for the association.
He also denied claims that he was taking money from business and event organisers.
On speculation that he and Cele knew each other, he said he had once bumped into the minister at a hotel.
“I don’t know him ,” he said.
Mathibela is also know for driving around with an entourage of people and cars. “I have the protection for my own security reasons, because I do have a murder case that is still in court.”
He was referring to the murder of North West billionaire and business mogul Wandile Bozwana, in which he is one of the four accused.