Former ward councillor Irma Jackson and her co-accused appeared briefly in the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s court on Friday February 19. The case against Ms Jackson, on fraud charges relating to an alleged housing scam, was postponed until Friday April 8.
“This is the final postponement,” Magistrate Aleem Kader said after reprimanding the prosecutor for not being prepared.
Ms Jackson, Paul van der Schyff and Numan Roman are accused of taking thousands of rands from about 30 families in exchange for properties in a low-cost housing scheme. They first appeared on Friday December 18 and were granted bail of R1 000 each.
Both the defence and prosecuting attorneys requested a postponement. Defence attorney Ruwayda Coetzee requested a postponement for consultation with one of the accused who had decided to represent himself in court, while prosecutor Juwaya Kleinsmith requested the postponement for consultation with witnesses.
“Why do you want to postpone for that purpose?” the magistrate asked Ms Kleinsmith.
“You should arrange that the investigating officer bring the witnesses to your offices before this date and not arrange it on this date.”
According to previous Plainsman reports (“Housing hustlers in court,” Plainsman, December 23) at least 32 people were each allegedly asked to pay R5 000 cash in exchange for houses. Most of the people, who were allegedly also asked to submit their identity documents, salary slips, bank statements and proof of address to the accused, were backyard dwellers or families renting rooms. Some of them were unemployed and borrowed the money, which they are now battling to pay off.