Bogus “soldier” could be jailed for up to five years


If found guilty the 29-year-old who attempted for become an “instant soldier” so he could be part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s inauguration faces up five years in jail.

Thapelo Mokgosi is currently being held at a Department of Correctional Services facility following his arrest in Thaba Tshwane last month. No date has yet been given for his next court appearance and there is also currently no indication of whether he will appear in a civilian or military court.

The corporate communications directorate of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) said he was “currently charged with contravening sections of the Defence Act relating to using a uniform without authority and falsely representing himself as an SANDF member” on or about 17 May.

Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi added Mokgosi could face further charges as investigations were ongoing.

Defence Intelligence, along with other law enforcement agencies including the Military Police and SA Police Service, are still investigating the possibility of others trying to “infiltrate” military ranks for the inauguration. Mgobozi earlier indicated more arrests were expected. At the time of publication no further arrests had been made in connection with similar offences.

In addition to Mokgosi, a serving officer (whose name, rank and unit have not been made public) was arrested at the same time in South Africa’s military capital, south-west of Pretoria.

He faces charges of aiding and abetting the committing of an offence, fraud and corruption as well as “endangering forces”. If found guilty he can spend between five and 25 years behind bars or “face a fine” an SANDF statement said.

The bogus soldier was first spotted by an alert military personnel clerk in Thaba Tshwane when he attempted to clear-in two weeks ahead of the Presidential inauguration at Loftus Versfeld. At the time the SANDF said: “The arrest follows vigilant actions by members of Tshwane Regiment who suspected malfeasance and unprocedural behaviour by a member and informed their superiors as well as the Military Police.  A concerted investigation was initiated which led to the arrests and exposed the suspects’ ill-intentions”.