‘Call me if you’re having plumbing problems’

Paulus Shimweefeleni
… ‘Ninja’ out after 25 years in prison

Paulus Shimweefeleni, also known as ‘Ninja’, a once-feared robber and murderer, is out of prison after serving 25 years.

Today, he says you can call him for all your plumbing issues.

Shimweefeleni emerged from Windhoek Correctional Facility yesterday, saying: “As you see I have a toolbox here. Even now if you have problems with water, call me.

My plumbing company has been registered for more than nine years already.”

“Plus, any school with children who do not follow [instructions], call me so that we can talk to these children. I do not want any child in this country to follow in my footsteps. I want them to know crime does not pay.”

A giant of a man, Ninja, as he still likes to be called, yesterday sported casual wear along with a slick gold watch on his left wrist.

He also hopes to be a gym instructor.

“I left my gym equipment inside to a man who is serving 105 years,” he said.

Shimweefeleni appeared slightly overwhelmed by a crowd of reporters as he bid correctional officers farewell.

“I am so happy I don’t even know what to say. All I want is to go and sit with my family and embrace the love that I have missed for so many years.

“Thanks to the correctional facility, they have rehabilitated me now. I am now a true man.

“If I could be the same person I was in the past, I would not call myself a man, because men take responsibility.

They do not only put their eyes on what they seek to benefit, but also on the consequences. I learnt all that here,” he said.

Shimweefeleni was arrested for the murder of a taxi driver. A martial art student, Shimweefeleni resorted to crime in an independent Namibia.

He told the media yesterday he felt devastated that he used his skills for the wrong reasons.


Shimweefeleni said he has a lot of catching up to do with the rest of the world.

“I don’t even know how to hold a cellphone, this smartphone,” he said.

“Some of these things are very different from what I left behind.”

Shimweefeleni expressed concern over the family he has wronged, which he said he needs to apologise to.

“When something happens, even if it happened 25 years ago, there may be children of the deceased . . . I just want them to forgive me for what I did.

“Even the sentence I have served here is nothing compared to what I have done,” he said.
Clinical psychologist Shaun Whittaker says it is not easy for former inmates to adapt to society after decades in correctional facilities.

“Also in terms of his own family. I am sure there are people who have passed away. Of course, there are some new family members who have been born,” he says.

Shimweefeleni was sentenced in February 1999 at the end of a trial in the Windhoek High Court to a life term of imprisonment on a charge of murder, a 20-year prison term for robbery with aggravating circumstances, and two years’ imprisonment for the possession of firearms and ammunition without a licence.

He gained notoriety as an armed robber before he was tried in the High Court over a robbery which resulted in the murder of a young taxi driver in Windhoek in June 1997.

Three months before he was sentenced in the High Court, Shimweefeleni was also sentenced in the Windhoek Regional Court to an effective 17 years’ imprisonment on three armed robbery charges dating from 1995.

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