Car guard gets thieves arrested

Quick thinking by Tshepo Molaoele helps cops set up sting

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Photo of Tshepo Molaoele
Tshepo Molaoele came to Cape Town from Rustenberg to find better opportunities. He works as a car guard in the city centre. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

Tshepo Molaoele guards cars at the entrance of The Company’s Garden in St. Johns Street, Cape Town. On 3 June 2016 at about 8pm, he noticed a Citi Golf driving slowly around. It seemed suspicious.

The car stopped and four men got out. They approached a similar looking Citi Golf, but one of the men was holding a screwdriver. This is when Molaoele realised that they were going to steal the car.

Feeling uneasy, he approached them and said “No gentlemen. What are you doing there?”

The would-be thieves noticed Molaoele and offered him R1,000 for his silence. Molaoele currently stays at the Youth Solutions Shelter in District 6 where he pays R850 month. A R1,000 would cover his rent and leave him with extra spending money. Yet Molaoele decided against it.

“No, gentlemen,” he said. “I’ve got a problem because there are a lot of police.”

Thinking on his feet, Molaoele asked them to leave and return a little later when the police had left. The men initially refused, but eventually they accepted his idea and drove off.

When they were out of sight, Molaoele ran off to The Big Box, a board game cafe close by, and told them the situation. They called the Central City Improvement District (CCID).

Within minutes members of the CCID arrived, and with the help of the police ran a sting operation.

Dressed up as car guards, they waited for the men to return, and when they did, all four of them were promptly apprehended in the act of trying to steal a car. Molaoele was then taken to the police station to write a police report.

The four men are currently awaiting trial prisoners.

Molaoele, 27, was born in Rustenberg in North West Province. He moved to Cape Town to look for better opportunities to develop his life. He wanted to be closer to the beautiful city and Table Mountain. A deeply religious man, he left his home town in 2014, but things have not been easy. With a matric qualification and desperate to eat, looking after cars was the only job he could find.

His earnings vary wildly, from R30 to R300 a day. He works at least 12 hours a day starting at 6am. You can find him looking after your car in St. Johns Street.

Disclosure: The car that was about to be stolen was the author’s.

TOPICS:  Crime Policing Unemployment

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Write a letter in response to this article


Dear Editor

Your gratitude to the car guard and revealing all of this, may well have condemned him to retribution by the gang who will be out of the cells shortly.

Not good.

GroundUp Editor's Response

We have received a number of comments criticising GroundUp for covering this story. But Tshepo Molaoele is an adult with agency. If he was willing to have his story reported, it would be patronising to not do so.

Dear Editor

What this man has done is remarkable.
Is it possible for us to somehow reward him?
It would be awesome if we could help him pay for his next months rent.

Dear Editor

I have contacted the shelter where is staying to see if I could pay his rent as a gesture of good will to him. I will report back if it comes to anything.

We need as a society to try and help people like Thsepo, who is an honest and decent human being, who just happens to find himself in dire circumstances.

He needs a job and opportunity - he deserves a chance to improve his circumstances. If anyone can help please reach out.

Dear Editor

While the story is truly remarkable due to the honesty and integrity of this gentleman (car guard), it is very regrettable that his name and photograph are widely publicized only to fulfill a space that should have been reserved for other news report. I do not agree that the reporter/author became the actual news in this story. I do hope and pray that there will be no retaliation to this car guard. His information should have been kept anonymous.

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