A clash involving Ekurhuleni metro police, police officers, armed bodyguards and popular “Prophet Paseka” “Mboro” Motsoeneng caused commotion in Katlehong yesterday when he was mistaken for an armed robber.
Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD) officers threw their weight around to intimidate Mboro and interrupt his divine moment with the community at a Hlahatsi shopping mall.
In fact, all Mboro was doing was praying for his followers and talking to people screaming for his attention when he stopped at the mall to draw money.
Mboro was surrounded by a crowd, including “nyaope boys” selling iced Take-5s and begging him to pray for their businesses’ success, elated grannies, sick people and workers who wanted to receive blessings.
“I suffer from severe headaches and prophet Mboro touched my head and I believe I am healed,” said 30-year-old Refilwe Chuene. Kabelo Thulo, 25, who sells iced Take-5s, said: “He is hero in this township. He has a good heart, he prays for people and blesses them.”
While the prophet was mingling with the crowd, his two armed bodyguards stood aside watching. That was when a group of armed SA Police Service (Saps) officers, later joined by the EMPD, appeared on the scene claiming they were reacting to a tip-off about an armed robbery.
Soon realising that what was going on was instead Mboro’s intimate moment with the community, a Saps sergeant known as Mazibuko and his team apologised to the prophet. But it didn’t end there.
Suddenly the EMPD’s SS Nkabinde yelled, “I’m Inspector Nkabinde” and set about confiscating the weapons carried openly by Mboro’s two bodyguards.
“I can do this nicely, but because these journalists are here (referring to The Citizen who was interviewing Mboro at the time) I want to teach them a lesson,” he shouted.
Another EMPD officer told The Citizen’s videographer: “Hey, you must switch off this bloody f…ken thing. You cannot take pictures of police with firearms.”
Nkabinde and his EMPD team confiscated the bodyguards’ weapons in the Saps’ officers presence. Mazibuko and his Saps team tried to defuse the situation, telling Mboro and his bodyguards to follow them to the police station to resolve the matter amicably.
As they left, the crowd shouted support for Mboro: “Shoprite gets robbed all the time, the police are never here. They are jealous of Ntate Mboro. Ntate Mboro, we are behind you.”
On arriving at the police station, Nkabinde shouted at The Citizen team, “I’m Inspector Nkabinde”, while ordering the team to vacate the boardroom where a meeting was held with Mboro and his bodyguards.
A granny who had accompanied Mboro to the police station yelled: “They don’t come when we call them for real robberies.”
A third EMPD officer interrupted the granny, saying: “This is how we get killed.”
Mboro said he is constantly arrested for the wrong reasons, adding: “Nkabinde told me he wants to discipline me. He wanted to humiliate me. The Saps handled the situation very well.”
After the meeting with the Saps and the EMPD, Mboro said Nkabinde insisted the weapons should not be returned to his bodyguards.
“The Saps informed him there’s no law that allows them to keep the guns because they were legal. But the Saps said the bodyguards should display three badges properly while holding the firearms in public,” he said.
Gauteng police LieutenantColonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed it was a false alarm that had been caused because “the community saw men who were not in uniform holding guns”.
EMPD spokesperson Wilfred Kgasago said Nkabinde claimed that, on hearing about an alleged robbery, he rushed to the scene and found people holding guns and “made them to lie down and took the firearms to the police station to confirm whether they were licensed”.
Asked whether the EMPD confiscated the firearms to teach Mboro and The Citizen a lesson, he slammed the phone down and it was unanswered thereafter.