Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane on Tuessday reassured the public that student l.
Sibongile Mashaba and Alex Matlala
South Africa's swaggering con artist Samson Khaukanani Budeli was a disciplined, soft-spoken and fashion-conscious lad who loved to impress girls.
Budeli, 35, was born in Old Makhado, Limpopo.
His family and those close to him have painted a picture of a young man who was loved by his community.
He started his education at Mangomane Primary School in the early 1980s and proceeded to Frank Ravele Secondary School and completed his matric at Ngweni Secondary School in Dzanani, Venda, in 1990.
His mother, Elisa Budeli, told Sowetanyesterday that her son went to a tertiary institution to further his studies but would not elaborate.
Budeli lives with his mother and wife Lebo and two children in a mansion. His father works in Gauteng and his only brother is pursuing studies with the University of South Africa.
A teacher at Ngweni Secondary School who spoke on condition of anonymity described him as a disciplined, clean and soft-spoken boy who was always an example to his classmates.
The teacher, who taught Budeli English, also described him as a fashionista and an impressionist who liked girls.
His mother, a teacher at Balalila Primary School, swears he is innocent.
"My son is innocent. Most of the accusations were fabricated by those who had personal vendettas against him. He has never stolen anything, raped or killed anyone," Elisa Budeli said.
"People just gave him the money because he wanted to start businesses with them. But they betrayed him and went to the police when the ventures fell through.
"He failed to pay back their money. That is not fraud."
She said she had not had time to visit him in prison. "I didn't have money but I will go as soon as I do."
Budeli's friend from Johannesburg, who asked not to be named, said: "He is a sweet guy. I knew he was involved in shady deals but would not divulge anything.
"He told me he had 28 taxis operating in Ekurhuleni but I never saw any of them. I believe that if he has defrauded people he must be punished."