Arrests in two provinces for recruitment scams

11 May 2021 - 14:27 By TimesLIVE
People paid R600 for a three-month contract job and R5,000 for a permanent position in a recruitment scam. Stock photo.
People paid R600 for a three-month contract job and R5,000 for a permanent position in a recruitment scam. Stock photo.

The Hawks have made arrests in two provinces of scammers exploiting desperate SA job seekers, who are cheated into paying cash to land fake jobs in government entities.

Capt Lloyd Ramovha said on Tuesday three bogus recruiters had appeared in the Protea magistrate's court for allegedly selling job opportunities at Pikitup.

The trio was arrested on Thursday last week by the Hawks' serious corruption investigation team in Soweto, after an investigation that started in February.

“A preliminary probe revealed that the three ladies were impersonating Johannesburg municipality employees purporting to be attached to Pikitup,” he said.

“It is alleged that they promised to ensure that the desperate job seekers would be employed by the city if they paid R600 upfront for a three months' contract job. For a R5,000 once-off payment, job seekers were promised permanent jobs.”

The team seized registers with the list of all victims who paid money for the jobs.

The trio made around R400,000 from the scam.

The case has been postponed to May 17 pending further investigation.

Two of the suspects were remanded in custody while the third was granted R2,000 bail.

In Mpumalanga, meanwhile, two suspects have been arrested by members of the Hawks' serious corruption investigation team together with Mpumalanga crime intelligence in connection with a case dating back several years.

Capt Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said they allegedly impersonated officials from the department of health conducting a recruitment drive, “reaching out to gatherings like churches and other places where they could find youth in numbers”.

“They promised them enrolment at a nursing training college which would guarantee employment at the department of health.”

The bogus recruiters demanded money for enrolment from all the prospective nursing trainees in a scam.

More than 75 unemployed youth paid R610,000 into the suspects' accounts between 2016 and 2017.

“After the victims based in Mpumalanga and other provinces paid the money, the suspects started telling them stories about the employment they were promised.”

The two suspects were expected to appear before the Bushbuckridge magistrate's court on Tuesday.