"The complainant was sent a reminder by the traffic department that his vehicle registration had lapsed. The complainant was not having a vehicle so he started being inquisitive," Captain John Shwane Serato said.

He visited the traffic department and found a vehicle had been registered in his name. He visited the labour registrar where he found that someone had used his details to take a job at DC Electrical, an electrical supply company.

The man followed the trail to the company and was told that someone with his name had been working there but was told "no, it’s not you". The alleged identity thief had resigned in 2008.

The company gave him the address of his doppelganger in Nellmapius, Pretoria. On arriving there, the people in the rented house said a man had lived there before, but had moved out and was now living across the street. They knew him by his second name, "Mabela".

Involved police

The Mamelodi man confirmed with the second house that "Mabela", who was at work, lived there, before going to the police.

"The police went to the place. They found him there."

When questioned, "Mabela" produced a Zimbabwean identity document that gave his real name. After police continued to press him, he produced a second, South African identity document belonging to one Themba Mabela.

"He produced the other ID, claiming that he bought it somewhere in Soweto," said Serato.

"There were also accounts opened in the complainant’s name by this suspect. Some other personal documents that did not belong to him were found in his place. There was also a vehicle in the name [of the identify theft victim] which was seized by the police."

The Mamelodi man had lost his identity document, said Serato, "that is where this man managed got a hold of his ID".

The Zimbabwean was arrested for fraud and would appear in Pretoria Magistrate’s court soon.

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