Life after wrongful arrest: The story of Thembekile Molaudzi

Against what seemed like unconquerable odds, Thembekile Molaudzi walked out of Kgosi Mampuru prison two weeks ago with 11 years lost behind him.

The misfortune began after the murder of Mothutlung policeman, Dingaan Makuna, in a failed hijacking in 2002.

Molaudzi was among eight men who were rounded-up and arrested. The only evidence implicating him was a recanted confession by a co-accused (who it turned out later was lying).

CapeTalk and 702 presenter Redi Tlhabi spoke with Thembekile Molaudzi and Carolyn Raphaely, journalist at the Wits Justice Project about the long struggle for freedom.

I’ve got so many emotions; I don’t know how to separate them. I feel over the moon. From day one I felt very optimistic. But there were long delays and disappointments along the way, which is why I served such a long time behind bars.

Thembekile Molaudzi, man wrongfully arrested for murder

During a bungled investigation with no tangible evidence linking him to the crime the accused were convicted and sentenced to life in jail.

When Molaudzi set about trying to access his trial transcripts required to appeal his case, the process proved almost as torturous as his wrongful conviction.

To be honest with you, prison is not a fairy tale.

Thembekile Molaudzi, man wrongfully arrested for murder

With only Grade 10 education under his belt, Molaudzi spent his time studying the Constitution, the Criminal Procedure Act and advising other inmates of their rights.

His warder took his case to the Wits Justice Project and with their help he set about trying to appeal his conviction.

Read Carolyn Raphaely's article on Thembekile Molaudzi's case on the Daily Maverick website.

Listen to the full conversation from The Redi Tlhabi show:

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