Un f'in believable.
WHEN Joburg police circulated a picture of an alleged killer who had escaped from custody, alarm bells rang for their counterparts in KwaZulu-Natal, where some knew him for his sterling work as a policeman.
Now it has emerged that the man, Zimbabwean Musa Khumalo, is not only wanted for murder – but also for impersonating a policeman for almost a year.
He reportedly escaped from prison and fled to KZN, where he got himself a senior position in the police and used his power to take down hijacking syndicates. Khumalo escaped from a Joburg jail early last year, apparently with the help of a warder. He’d been held on a charge of murder.
It appears that after his escape he headed for Durban, adopted the rank of brigadier, and worked for months at various northern KZN police stations. During that time he was lauded for his success rate, having recovered more than 40 stolen and hijacked cars.
But it seems that his achievements may not have been due to good police work, but rather his determination to take down rival hijackers.
“There is reason to believe that Khumalo was allegedly involved in a car theft and hijacking syndicate. He was suffocating his rivals in crime to help sustain his alleged operation,” said a well-placed source.
Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela said a warrant of arrest had been issued for Khumalo, and national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega and Hawks boss Lieutenant General Anwa Dramat were determined to see him behind bars. Crime intelligence units and tracking teams in KZN and Gauteng have been instructed to work around the clock to catch Khumalo, who may have fled back to Joburg.
Polela said the details of the Joburg murder for which he was originally arrested were unclear, but he could confirm that Khumalo had escaped from custody.
He said Khumalo claimed he was a policeman based at the KZN provincial headquarters. But KZN police spokesman Colonel Vincent Mdunge claimed Khumalo was an impostor.
“Since his picture was circulated as a wanted criminal, we have secured his profile. A task team has been appointed to track him down. He does not use an alias. This is his name. We will find him,” he said.
“The picture in his passport and that on the wanted persons list are a match. He is aware that police are looking for him.”
Mdunge denied claims that the KZN police commissioner, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, knew Khumalo.
The police source described Khumalo as a “hardcore criminal” with alleged links to a car theft and hijacking syndicate in KZN, adding that Khumalo had an SA ID and passport. “He entered the country legally from Zimbabwe. It is unknown how he obtained these falsified documents. According to the Department of Home Affairs, Khumalo was declared dead in 2008.”
The source said that when Khumalo escaped from police custody in Joburg, he fled to KZN.
“When he got here, he befriended several policemen. He gave them the impression that he was a policeman, too. He introduced himself as Brigadier Musa Khumalo and claimed to be from the Hawks in Pretoria. He soon gained the trust of the policemen and started assisting them with investigations.”
The source said Khumalo was knowledgeable about SA policing and investigation methods.
“He knew what he was talking about. So much so that professional policemen believed him.
“He seemed to have good informers when it came to car theft and hijacking syndicates operating in KZN,” the source said, explaining how Khumalo helped the police to recover 26 stolen and hijacked cars in Richards Bay and 19 in Mtunzini. “The engine numbers of these stolen cars were checked and they showed on the system as stolen or hijacked. This just gained him more trust and recognition.”