Howick truck driver Phakamani Mbokazi says he meant no harm when he tricked petrol attendant Sphamadla “Wiseman” Ndabezitha into filling his tank with R210 worth of petrol.
He also stressed that he did pay for the fuel, telling The Witness: “I gave him the full amount of money and then I went home.”
Mbokazi said his video clip, which was shared online and with Ndabezitha himself, only showed part of the two-minute, 21-second film he recorded. The complete version, he says, clearly shows he didn’t con anyone.
After leaving the garage, Mbokazi thought nothing more about the incident until a friend contacted him last week to say that people were talking about him on a Gagasi radio show.
The video, which was recorded in January, had gone viral on social media, eventually coming to the attention of social activist lawyer Tumi Sole, who shared Ndabezitha’s story and his banking details with his Twitter followers.
Within hours the petrol attendant’s bank balance rose from R100 to around R11 000 through donations from the public. “I was shocked because it wasn’t true what people were saying,” Mbokazi said. “I came to see Wiseman last Thursday and told him that if he was upset about the video I was sorry. I apologised and he accepted my apology.”
In the video Mbokazi pulls into the BP Garage at the Hilton Quarry Centre and asks Ndabezitha to put “2-10” petrol in for him.
He then ensured he had his camera phone ready to record a video when the petrol attendant returned to the driver’s side window.
Ndabezitha asks him for R210 and can be seen looking very confused when he only gets two R10 notes.
Mbokazi said he only filmed the incident because he wanted to show petrol jockeys how easy it was for people to trick them.
“People need to know this can happen to anyone. I just wanted to teach him to be careful on his job,” he said, adding that he would be happy to help other garage owners to improve safety on their forecourts.
Ndabezitha, meanwhile, has said that he plans to use the money donated to him to build a safe home for his mother, who lives in a mud hut in Elandskop.
The Sweetwaters resident also wants to take some driving lessons and, if possible, hopes start building a better home for himself and his sons, Efihle, Okuhle and Elihle