'Bra Khekhe is great guy in Mamelodi' - Friend vouches for Mathibela's charity
Vusi Mathibela and his business associate Elias Skhosana say they have been so concerned about allegations that he runs a protection racket in the township, that he recently took to a local radio station to deny the claims.
Although Mathibela would not talk directly to Sowetan, he appointed his friend Skhosana to speak on his behalf.
Skhosana told Sowetan that there were people in the township that were using Mathibela's name to extort money from local business people.
"The problem here is that there are people using our names on some things we're not part of. They know that other people don't know us facially, and a person would use my name and profile and pretend that he's me.
"People are telling us they're receiving calls and they can't see the people that are calling them. In other cases, people pretend to be Vusi and their Zulu isn't even on point, and Vusi wouldn't even be in the country at that moment," Skhosana said.
When asked why would people think using Mathibela's name would help their cause of extorting money from others, Skhosana responded: "I don't know why that is happening because we've never gotten hold of those people."
He denied all of this "absolute madness" and said Mathibela was a victim of "a well-
coordinated smear campaign" as a result of conflicts within the taxi industry.
Skhosana said they went to the local community station with police in October to clear some of these allegations and encourage those who get asked for money in Vusi's name to go to the police.
"Taxi associations have been collecting money for many years from members, before Vusi came into the space, where was that money going if they now say it's coming to Vusi?" asked Skhosana. He described Mathibela as a man loved by Mamelodi residents.
"As far as I know, Vusi is loved in Mamelodi although there are few individuals who have issues; you know not everyone will love you."
Skhosana added: "When there's an activity that involves Vusi, it gets packed; people come to him. others to ask for money from him. He's not the killer that others label him as.
"Maybe it's all because those that we help don't have the voice or resources to call radio stations and speak about our good work."
A man who refused to be named said Mathibela had been very instrumental in squashing violent taxi conflicts which had existed in Mamelodi for many years.
"Ke sdumana se serious sa mo Mams (he's a very well-known person here in Mamelodi), he's the reason there's peace among taxi operators here," the man said. - Isaac Mahlangu