Limpopo graduate jobless as ‘false’ criminal record clings on to him

The logistics graduate believes he was taken advantage of and was indirectly forced to admit to a crime he did not commit.

 Thulani Makhuza feels trapped in life as he is still paying for a crime he said he did not commit.

The 27-year-old man apparently lost several job opportunities that he qualified for because of a criminal record, the Ridge Times reports.

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He grew up in an underprivileged family, and was raised by a single mother who worked as a domestic worker in the area.

Makhuza said because of the situation at home, he was forced to get a job when he was 15, so his mother’s employer adopted him.

He became a child in the family, and assisted in their shop and with other house chores.

Makhuza said in matric (2011), he was returning home from church when he saw police at the shop.

He went to the main house to find out what was happening. His foster father told him to close the shop.

“I went to the shop to do as I was instructed.

“Police officers wanted to know where my foster father, the shop owner, was. I told them he was in the main house and that he had instructed me to give them alcohol and to close the shop.

“We looked for him, but he was nowhere to be found. We called him, but his cellphone was on the counter.

“The officers then arrested me.”

Makhuza alleged officers said they were taking him to the station as bait so his foster father would hand himself over to the police.

When they arrived at the station, however, the officers said Makhuza would be charged with selling alcohol without a licence.

“They took my fingerprints, and when I asked why they did it, they told me that I should not worry because what they were doing was part of the process that they had to follow. They then put me in a holding cell.

“I had to appear in the Evander Magistrates’ Court, and I was found guilty of selling alcohol without a licence.

“I had to pay a fine of R1 500 that was paid by my foster father.

“I was only a kid, and was concerned only with completing my matric.

“The shop owner told me not to worry because I did not have a criminal record. I believed, trusted and respected him.”

Makhuza passed his matric and applied for jobs to pay for his further.

He was invited for an interview and got a job, but was denied access to the premises on the first day because the company discovered he had a criminal record.

Makhuza said he did some research, and realised it would take time to clear his name.

He said the shop owner told him he had applied for a presidential pardon. He studied logistics at Tshwane University of Technology in 2013, and obtained a diploma in 2016. He also got a degree in logistics in 2017.

Despite this, his criminal record is closing the doors to employment.

Makhuza said he has been trying to get help from several law enforcement and justice institutions, but without luck.

“Nobody is willing to help me, and I do not know what to do.

“At times, I even think of taking my own life because of this situation.

“I was just a kid trying to make a living, and somebody took advantage of me.

“I feel like I was framed and betrayed by the police and the shop owner.

“I ask people with knowledge in these matters to help me.”

Naledi Ngcina, his foster mother and the ex-wife of the shop owner, confirmed the information, and said it was unfortunate that Makhuza was being punished for a crime he had never committed.

“My family and the police failed the poor child.

“I was not home during the incident, however, when he told me what was happening, I spoke to the police over the phone. I requested them not to arrest the child because they did not find him in the shop and that he was only a child, but they did not listen to me.

“I urge people to help this young man.”

Police said Makhuza should talk with them to see what can be done.

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