AFTER five years of legal woes, hostage-taker Kabelo Thibedi says he is looking forward to starting a new chapter of his life.
For nearly three years the 25-year-old from Meadowlands, Soweto, has been in and out of court after he was arrested for holding a Home Affairs official hostage in 2005, demanding his ID book.
Throughout the trial, Thibedi said the frustration of not being able to get an ID book had driven him to commit the offence.
He said he lost his job because he could not provide his employers with an ID book.
Thibedi then appealed against his one-year sentence.
Two weeks ago the Johannesburg high court backdated his sentence from the date he was sentenced by the Johannesburg magistrate's court in November 2006.
He is now a free man.
"I am now free from all the stressful court appearances," Thibedi said.
First, he said, he wanted to start a nongovernmental organisation to help those struggling to get ID books like he once did.
He worked as a volunteer for the Young Communist League (YCL) after it took him under its wing and set up a trust to help pay his legal fees.
His job was to help people get ID books at Home Affairs.
While at YCL, Thibedi said, he travelled across the country and with the department helped at least 3000 people who needed ID books.
"I am going to use that experience and pick up where I left off," he said.
"It hurts me so much when I see people going through the same painful experience of not being able to get an ID book or birth certificate."
Two months ago Thibedi told Sowetan that the YCL had deserted him. He did not know what had happened to the trust fund set up in his name.
"I am moving on from that tension," he said.
Thibedi said he wanted to finish his studies with Unisa.
"The court case and criminal record are a setback, but I want to catch up. I am still young and believe God is on my side."