Four to appear in court over R900k 'housing fraud' in Cape Town

19 October 2023 - 15:40 By Kim Swartz
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Eleven potential property buyers were allegedly persuaded to deposit large sums of money into a bank account operated by two city officials. Stock photo.
Eleven potential property buyers were allegedly persuaded to deposit large sums of money into a bank account operated by two city officials. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/pashapixel

Four people, two of them city officials, will appear in court soon for alleged housing development fraud of R900,000 at Mfuleni in Cape Town.

Detectives from the provincial commercial crimes unit were assigned to investigate after new plots in extension 2 were made available by the city last year. 

Two city officials — one has subsequently resigned — allegedly colluded with two private individuals to sell plots and persuaded 11 potential buyers to deposit large sums of money in a bank account shared by the two officials.

Police spokesperson Col Andrè Traut said, “This fraudulent scheme resulted in a financial loss of R900,000 suffered by the victims for real estate they never received ownership of.”

He said the city officials were aged 51 and 55 and the two other suspects were 28 and 36.

The suspects were arrested on Wednesday.

Human settlements MMC Carl Pophaim said one official resigned and the other was in the process of being suspended. 

“My heart breaks for the victims. City projects will never require prospective beneficiaries to pay money to be on a list or to receive a property. 

“There are countless housing scams we hear of involving private individuals and fraudsters and the victims lose all their money. Whenever residents are in doubt, it is always best to ask for advice at our official city administration offices across the metro,” said Pophaim. 

The suspects will appear in the Blue Downs magistrate’s court on several charges of fraud. More arrests are expected.

“This serves as a warning to all city employees, public representatives and private individuals involved in our projects: we will stop at nothing to root out fraud and corruption and ensure that public money and vulnerable individuals are protected,” said Pophaim.

Pophaim said the case was initially pursued by the city’s special investigative unit.

TimesLIVE


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