Cele boosts police credibility

Notorious businessman Vusi 'Khekhe' Mathibela made his first court appearance at the Pretoria Magistrate Court after he turned himself in. Mathibela appeared on charges of extortion, fraud and assault.
Notorious businessman Vusi 'Khekhe' Mathibela made his first court appearance at the Pretoria Magistrate Court after he turned himself in. Mathibela appeared on charges of extortion, fraud and assault.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Police minister Bheki Cele lived up to his promise of having notorious Pretoria business person and taxi boss, Vusi "Khekhe" Mathibela, arrested.

In a country where politicians have become infamous for making empty threats and dishing out empty promises, it is refreshing to hear a minister say what he means.

For far too long, communities in Pretoria's Mamelodi township have been living in fear of this individual and his associates.

They accuse him of running the township as his fiefdom, demanding levies from local businesses and, at one stage, even allegedly stopping the city's commuter buses from operating in the area.

All of the allegations are yet to be tested in the courts and we should therefore presume Mathibela to be innocent of all the accusations until the courts give their findings.

But we commend the police and the work they have done in investigating the matter ever since it was covered as a story by this newspaper at the end of last year.

This will go a long way in restoring the public's trust in the policing system and in reviving the belief that the arm of the law is so long it can reach anyone, no matter how rich and connected they may be. It will also give Mathibela, who has always claimed innocence and alleged that he was being framed by people who abuse his name, a chance to clear his name.

By doing their job of investigating and arresting the suspects, the police have also potentially prevented the situation from turning into violence.

Too many locals were expressing frustration with the law and threatening to take the law into their own hands as they believed that the local cops were either afraid of the suspect or in cahoots with him.

We hope that those who have evidence against Mathibela and his associates, but were too scared to speak out, would now find the courage to approach authorities with the kind of information that would help in the cases.

The only way we can reduce criminal activity in our country is if all of us play our part.

In this case, Cele and the police force have played their role by acting against the suspects. It is now up to the community to come forward with their stories of how they were terrorised.

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