Community members of KwaMashu and Newlands Township in the north of Durban are up in arms after a local conman allegedly defrauded them of millions of rands.
The alleged con artist Patrick Mpungose, who claimed to be a lawyer, promised to help them get their land that was forcefully taken by the apartheid government.
The man was expected to address the people about the process of their compensations but has disappeared.
For more than ten years thousands of elderly people have been paying eight hundred rands every month to the alleged fraudster.
Community members are baying for the blood of the alleged con artist Patrick Mpungose.
This past weekend, thousands of former residents of Newlands eagerly awaited the address by the alleged con artist Mpungose who promised to get them compensation monies after their families were forcefully removed by apartheid government, but Mpungose has gone to ground, as he was a no show.
The victims have allegedly paid about eight hundred rand for the monthly meeting Mpungose held, residents believe they have lost their hard earned cash for good.
One resident shared how they got conned of their money.
“Long time ago our ancestors were forcefully moved from their land in Newlands during the apartheid time. Now here is this prominent lawyer who came to us, former residents of Newlands and promised to get our compensation since we can no longer go back as the new surburb was built. The lawyer started by asking monies ranging from hundred and fifty to six hundred rand.”
Mpungose formed a committee which comprised former residents of Newlands.
Their duty was to ensure that they collect an amount of eight hundred rand from each person monthly whenever they are attending the meetings.
This committee successfully managed to ensure that the about ten thousands former families do pay the monthly fee.
Committee chairperson Jabu Gumede says she is completely disappointed and shocked about the whole scenario.
“We always believed that this lawyer was here to assist us, it never crossed our mind that we can be robbed by someone who is educated and knows the law. My parents grew up from Newlands west and were forcefully moved to the periphery during the times of apartheid. I’m in the committee and I was among those who found this lawyer. He has betrayed our hopes.”
Community leader Thabiso Mavana addressed the people and promised them that they will take the legal route to get redress.
Mavana has taken all the people’s grievances and promised to return with the feedback after a month.
“From now onwards we are going to take all people’s complaints, we will take and compile them together and take it to the government and Parliament. We will speak with our lawyers and investigate these allegations. He must tell the community what he does with their monies, why is he collecting these monies.”
For now community members of KwaMashu and Newlands townships remain hopeful that government and other legal authorities will come up with solutions.
Thousands of people who attended this week’s meeting could not hold back their tears as Patrick Mpungose was nowhere to be seen with their monies.