SA police closing in on Jesse


South African police are reported to be closing in on David Jesse who is continuing to cause havoc in that country. Their only problem, reports say, is that they are not getting cooperation from Zimbabwean police or his victims.

Police in South Africa are incensed by Jesse’s latest escapade in which he conned a South African lawyer, this time in Bloemfontein, Free State, to employ him as a labour law expert. Jesse is said to have managed to get his employer to fire one of his closest employees but was dismissed after the lawyer was tipped about Jesse’s history. The employee has since been reinstated.

The Bloemfontein lawyer is the third South African lawyer to employ Jesse, also known as Allan Norton, since he went to South Africa in 2001. He cleaned out the first two lawyers, both in Cape Town, leaving them almost bankrupt. All three lawyers have not preferred charges against him because Jesse has a habit of suing first and filing multiple claims which can drag on wasting the lawyer’s time and resources.

Jesse has been circulating damaging information on the lawyers on websites and to the relevant law societies. He wrote some stories claiming that one of the lawyers was gay. He seems to have an obsession with gays and claimed that the editor of The Insider was gay and had a fling with former president Canaan Banana.

At least three senior South African police officers have contacted The Insider to verify the information that the paper has published so far. Apparently, the South African police, like some Zimbabweans who have been conned by Jesse, thought that The Insider was part of Jesse’s scam.

The editor of The Insider has met one of the officers who complained that he was not getting cooperation from the Zimbabwean police or from the courts. He could not find documents relating to Jesse’s cases. The Insider could not locate the file on his case with the Law Society of Zimbabwe at the High Court in Harare and had to rely on the answering affidavit which it obtained from the Law Society.

Jesse, who seems to have settled in Cape Town soon after leaving the country, moved to KwaZulu Natal when The Insider revealed that he was not a lawyer but a wanted man with a history of abusing women. He has been staying in KwaZulu Natal, on and off, from mid-last year. He has done a number of odd jobs in KwaZulu Natal and has even tried his hand at farming. He is also reported to have conned a number of people, mostly women, after persuading them to go into business with him.

The Insider could not establish when he moved to Free State or whether he is still there.

Jesse has been enjoying a free reign in South Africa apparently because he claims to have fled persecution from Mugabe because he sued the government for $425 million. Though it is true that he sued the government for that amount, this was way back in 1995 and he was awarded only $10 000 four years later. He claims to have been awarded the full amount.

Jesse also claims to be a lawyer with a PhD in agricultural science but The Insider has established that though he studied law with the University of South Africa, he did not complete the degree. The university from which he is supposed to have obtained his PhD is not recognised and clearly says so.

It appears Jesse is able to get jobs with lawyers because he is using a South African lawyer, Arthur Kruger, and former Zimbabwe chief Justice, Anthony Gubbay, as referees.

Jesse seems to have had a long association with Kruger which dates back to the 1980s when he claims to have worked with the South African lawyer as a clerk. He used the name of Kruger on the letterhead of the Law Foundation, a law firm he allegedly worked for in Bulawayo. The Law Foundation was allegedly run by Nhlanhla Mahlangu, a qualified lawyer, but most people believe that Jesse was the brain behind the firm.

His association with Justice Gubbay is through a letter which the former chief justice wrote to him on 8 March 2001. The letter appeared to be a reply to a letter which Jesse had written Gubbay after he had been forced to resign before the expiry of his term. The letter from Gubbay which was on his official letterhead reads:

“Dear Mr Jesse,

How thoughtful of you to write me! I am very appreciative of your kind and generous sentiments. It is comforting to know that I have always have had your support and confidence.

It is sad for me to have to go. I really wanted to stay to the end of my term. But I am grateful for having been afforded the opportunity to have served in the judiciary for so long. These have been wonderfully satisfying years.

It pleases me to know that, albeit unwittingly, I have been an influence in your pursuit of the law. Certainly, in my view you have made the right choice. Your industry has always impressed us. I wish you success in your career. I shall miss presiding over the constitutional challenges that you will continue to present before the Supreme Court. An innovative mind is a great asset in a lawyer. And that is a quality that you possess is abundance.

With every best wish.”

Though Gubbay could have been complimenting Jesse for studying law, Jesse could be capitalising on the last sentence which implies he is a lawyer and a good one at that. In fact he has dished out copies of the letter to several organisations including which hosted stories from The Insider but stopped when he threatened to sue them.

In his submission to AllAfrica.Com, which he allegedly claimed had been written by his wife Sharon, Jesse claimed: “David left Zimbabwe because with the Gubbay (sic) going and the bench resigning or being forced out he knew he’d be murdered or set up and jailed forever. Mugabe was intent on his demise and with the utter and complete lack of law and order, the end of the rule of law and Mugabe’s puppet Judges on the bench and in the Magistrate’s Courts he knew it would only be a matter of time before the “War Veterans” murdered him. There are no warrants of arrest or outstanding matters against David. David has two Constitutional matters against the State still waiting to be argued by Advocate Wernberg which are waiting for a set down in the Supreme Court (probably 2 years time).

“In 2000 Justice Gillespie removed a Magistrate from the bench, a prosecutor from the prosecution (he was later fired by the AG’s office) and stayed proceedings against David permanently, because the “bench” was sick and tired of David being victimised. See the law report in CONSTITUTIONAL LAW REPORTS 2001 (8) Jesse v Pratt. Almost every single Judge and Magistrate supported David by the end of his fight with Mugabe. Look at the attachment here and see if you think the ex-Chief Justice would have given David such a reference if he didn’t completely believe in David’s innocence and the unlawfulness of the State’s attempt to falsely incriminate him? …. David, who has a Ph.D in Agricultural Science, became a lawyer because of his victimisation by Mugabe. He is a brilliant lawyer and we are happily married with two fine young children.”

A statement from the police which detailed Jesse’s arrest and conviction record, however said Jesse’s application for a stay of prosecution of all his pending cases was turned down by the Supreme Court. It was after this that he disappeared from Zimbabwe.

But with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s current standing in the world, it is much easier to believe Jesse’s tale. However, the truth is that he was never harassed by the Mugabe administration. The $425 million lawsuit was meant to sidetrack the legal system after he had been arrested for the murder of Fiona Spencer. He even hired a private investigator to investigate police who were investigating him.

But South African police are all out to get him. Their biggest problem is that Jesse had threatened all his victims and they are so afraid of him that they are not willing to testify against him. Jesse has capitalised on this for more than a decade. He has left a trail of victims in Zimbabwe and the United States who have all chickened out after filing charges with the police against him.

Jesse, who claims to be a former Rhodesian soldier and at times a Selous Scout, usually threatens to kill his victims or members of their families. His escapades have emboldened him because they appear to confirm his philosophy that if you scare the hell out of people you can use that to your advantage.

Jesse explained his philosophy to a British woman he conned to come to Zimbabwe, claiming he was a multi-millionaire bachelor looking for an “ideal partner”, this way: “I live a life other people only dream about; first have a dream- then make it come true. Let me tell you what success is, it is believing in yourself. It is a reason to live, it is sacrificing (sic) all for what you believe is right. I believe in me and I could believe in you. It is 20 hour days, 7 days a week. It is parallels. Each moment of each hour of each day must bring change. Change frightens most people but in essence change is strategy. It is good to be frightened- it means you understand the full depth of the threat – you learn to respect fear not to be afraid of it- terror is only a human emotion – so we learn to use it to our advantage.”


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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