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Man arrested for impersonating South African soldier, but not for stealing ‘over 3,000 guns'

An article on the South African junk news website says that a “fake” soldier has allegedly admitted that he stole “over 3,000 guns, ammunition and explosives”, some of which have been used in cash-in-transit heists.

According to the article, which has also been shared on Facebook, Thapelo Mokgosi was arrested after attempting to join an infantry group that was to accompany South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at his inauguration. 

The article goes on to say that Mokgosi had been active on several military bases for years and “admitted that he had swindled the army of over 3,000 guns including assault rifles, a lot of ammunition and explosives”.

According to the article, the police “confirmed that most of the missing weapons matched the ones used in several cash-in-transit heists around the country”.

Cash-in-transit heists, the often violent robberies of armoured vehicles transporting cash and other valuables, have become frequent in South Africa. 

But is the story true?

An impostor was arrested for impersonating a soldier in 2019

According to an investigative report by the News24 affiliate newspaper Rapport, a civilian man by the name of Thapelo Mokgosi was indeed arrested by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) military police, after attempting to join a battalion in the capital Pretoria before the inauguration of Ramaphosa in May 2019.

The incident and the subsequent court case have been widely reported on since the Rapport investigation. 

The Daily Sun newspaper reported on Mokgosi’s appearance at the Pretoria Magistrate’s court. He was charged with falsely presenting himself as a soldier and illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition. 

There have been a number of reports of weapons theft at the SANDF and revelations in parliament that some of those weapons have been used in cash-in-transit heists.

However, there were no other charges or reports of charges against Mokgosi, for either weapons or ammunition theft or possession or theft of explosives. – Africa Check

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