Two people trying to buy wendy houses lost thousands of rands to a Facebook conman believed to be from Tafelsig.
The man, who goes by the names Kurt Davids and Allan John Hansen, advertises wendy houses and assists people who are blacklisted.
His most recent advert included a picture of a fully-furnished wendy house, priced at R9500, that included a kitchen, four bedrooms, bathroom and a lounge.
Westridge paralegal John Foster said he had assisted three people who had been targeted by the scamster, two of whom lost a total of R14000 and a third who was roped into a rental scam, but didn’t part with his cash.
“He is very sly and convincing. He has robbed residents and can do this to other people too.
“We want people to report their incidents so that this man can be caught.
“People work very hard for their monies, only to be robbed like this,” he said.
Having shared the Facebook post two of them responded to, as well as pictures of the man they interacted with, the three are confident they were all tricked by the same man who identified himself as Kurt Davids.
A Rocklands resident, who did not want his identity disclosed, said he had been looking for a wendy house, and when he came across “Mr Davids’” ad on Facebook, he contacted him. He said the man told him to make the payment as soon as possible and that he was in Saldanha Bay.
“We then (paid the deposit) of
R5000 at Shoprite in Rocklands, on Friday March 17. When we sent the money, we called him and then he told us that the bungalow was on the truck and ready to go. Up until now we have not received the wendy house, and never heard from him again,” he said.
Mitchell’s Plain police spokesperson Sergeant Jerome Voegt confirmed the incident and added that they were investigating a case of theft. “It is believed that the complainant bought a wendy house and the money was transferred via a retail store in Rocklands. The complainant has as yet not received the wendy house,” he said.
Sergeant Voegt said the investigation was ongoing and added that no arrests had been made.
“We are urging the community to make use of registered businesses when purchasing goods and services and not to make use social media to buy goods as they open themselves to being misled by criminals,” he said.
Another Rocklands resident, who also didn’t want to be named, said he met the man in Tafelsig in January. He said he wanted to rent a house in Tafelsig and was in contact with “Mr Davids”. “He said that I should meet him in Dolomites Street in Tafelsig, which was the house that was supposed to be the rental house. When I spoke to the owner, they knew nothing about the rent or even moving out.
“I called him back, and he said that I was at the wrong house and (that I should) meet him at another house in Rockies Street in Tafelsig.
“He said to me he lives in Hout Bay and just came from there. But what was strange was that he had a set of keys and knew exactly what keys to use for gates and doors,” he said.
The resident said he walked through the house and took pictures. “Mr Davids” then said that the man should give him a R3 500 rental deposit as soon as possible.
“He was persistent and wanted the money. But, I insisted that there is a contract and proper paperwork. When I left, I spoke to my friend who lives in the road and he told me that the man is a conman, and that he had scammed so many people before. He also said that the man lives in Tafelsig and that it is his mother’s house,” he said.
The resident added that “Mr Davids” later blocked his number so that he could no longer contact him.
A Grassy Park resident who was also tricked out of his money, said he saw the advertisement on Facebook and contacted “Mr Davids”.
“We wanted our names cleared because we were in debt and he assured us that he would help us. He said that we should make a payment of R9 000, which we did at Shoprite in Claremont,” he said.
The resident said after the payment was made, “Mr Davids” said he should meet them at Block C at the Cape Town Court. When he arrived, the security said there was no such place and “Mr Davids” was nowhere to be seen.
The man then went to the police station to open a case.
Claremont police spokesperson Sergeant Lindile Dubeni confirmed they were investigating the indicent.
When the Plainsman asked Imvusa Trading in Lansdowne what it would cost to buy a wendy house, they said a 3 x 12m unit would cost R21 800 cash, and
R26 000 on credit. This would be an open plan wendy house with wooden floors and windows.
The company’s Frede Samsodien said anyone who wanted to purchase a wendy house on credit, should have a permanent job and a fixed salary. “There is a procedure you will have to follow and thereafter there will be a payment plan,” she said.
Referring to the advertisement on Facebook, Ms Samsodien said the prices were “way too low, especially with the added features”.
“Never have I heard of a price like that, and I doubt people would sell a wendy house at R9 500. It is definitely a scam,” she said.
Eddie Andrews, mayoral committee member for area south, said there was a huge demand for housing in Mitchell’s Plain and urged residents to be cautious when purchasing items online, especially social media.
“There have been many housing scams going around in Mitchell’s Plain. People must report it to the police and follow through.
“Looking into the housing issue, we have the Beacon Valley Housing project on the cards. We want people to note that the City under no circumstances will demand money from people, and do not fall for it, if people knock on your door requesting monies,” he said.
Mr Andrews added that if residents would like to check their status on the housing database, they can SMS 44108, with their ID number and surname.
Charlotte Williams, who is part of the Beacon Valley steering committee, and is the ACDP’s proportional representation councillor for Sub-council 18 and former deputy mayor of Cape Town, said she had heard of the Facebook conman recently and encouraged people to purchase items at reputable companies, no matter how good a deal may sound.
“People are desperate for housing which is why they are buying wendy houses. People look for bargains on social media and that is how they fall into the trap.”
She said recent statistics showed there were 16 000 Mitchell’s Plain residents on the housing waiting list.
The Plainsman tried “Mr Davids’” number a couple of times, but it appears to be out of service.