Former Bafana, Sundowns star John Tlale out on bail for theft

Mamelodi Sundowns legend-turned-business tycoon John Tlale and his business partner spent some time in police cells for allegedly stealing R1.9-million from a construction company which is based in Welkom, the second-largest city in Free State.

The arrests came after the wife of Tlale’s late employer pressed criminal charges against three business directors.

Two of the business directors, including Tlale, appeared in the Welkom magistrate’s court last week after they handed themselves over to police.

They were released on R3 000 bail each and the matter was postponed to December 12 for further investigations. Police are still searching for the third suspect.

Tlale, the towering retired shot-stopper, was exceptional when he turned out for top local football clubs. He was also part of the Bafana Bafana squad that lifted the Africa Cup of Nations trophy in 1996.

On Wednesday, Tlale confirmed to Sunday World that he handed himself over to police on Tuesday last week after he received a call that law-enforcement authorities were looking for him in relation to a theft charge.

He said Simphonya Construction company, where he serves as the marketing director, had secured a pavement project from the Matjhabeng local municipality.

However, said Tlale, the owner of the company, Nico Rasethunya, died before the company could start working on the pavement project.

“I then called a meeting and suggested that we bring in his [owner] wife to work with us or at least benefit from the project, because we understood there were children that needed to be supported,” he explained.

“We agreed that the wife would get around R90 000 a month from the project, even though she did not do anything. Neither did she attend our meetings.

“It was out of pity, respect and honour of the family.”

Business finances questioned

He said the wife brought a lawyer to assess business funds, and to find out if she was not being left out from what was happening in the company.

This, according to Tlale, was when theft concerns were raised.

He explained that questions were also raised about cash withdrawals.

However, said Tlale, they never understood when he explained that the company had no capital to get the project under way, and that it took out a loan which had to be paid back.

Some of the money was used to cover construction-related costs and to pay company officials.

“I still fail to understand why they claim that I stole the money from my project. The company belonged to her husband, but it was known that I brought [in] the project.

“I think she did not understand when we told her that we all had to cut down on our own salaries, including hers.

“There are things we needed to do with the money to complete the project. Mind you, I did not even get R700 000 out of that project, because I kept on thinking that it was not much about money but supplying quality, so we would be considered the next time.”


He said it is heartbreaking that while he brought the wife to be part of the company, even without any construction experience, the company officials “got stabbed in the back”.

The retired shot-stopper handed himself over to police with his accomplice Kgosietsile Sebetso while the third suspect, Josias Mokone, remains a wanted man.

Free State police spokesperson Stephen Thakeng confirmed that warrants of arrest were issued for the trio over theft charges.

This, said Thakeng, after the charges were levelled against the suspects for fiddling with two companies’ bank accounts.

“The late husband of the complainant was the owner and the three suspects were directors of the same companies, including the wife,” said Thakeng.

“During May 2017, the wife was removed from the companies as a director without her knowledge.

“From 15 February 2017 until 3 June 2017, there were multiple transactions made on the companies’ bank accounts that she had not authorised or had any knowledge thereof.

“Cash that amounts to R1.9-million was stolen.”

Thakeng said the case was thoroughly investigated before the warrants of arrest were issued.

He pleaded with the public to report to police if they knew of Mokone’s whereabouts.

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