'Give us back our money'
Couple demands R100,000 from attorney after house deal failed
A TSHWANE attorney is accused of acting in cahoots with two estate agents accused of defrauding a couple under false pretences.
Thulane and Ivy Kumalo also claimed that the Law Society and the Estate Agency Affairs Board had failed them because they did not investigate their case when it was brought to their attention. They still don't have any answers as to why the attorney cannot refund them their money when their deal to purchase a home went awry.
The Kumalos were interested in purchasing a home through agents, Nomsa Mashego and Joyce Morgan, both of whom were employed by estate agency Century 21. Kumalo was referred to Century 21 by his cousin.
The Kumalos claim they met the two agents at a nearby takeaway outlet, where they signed their offer to purchase on the boot of their car, they said.
A few days later Mashego and Morgan apparently told them the house was part of an insolvent estate and they needed a 20% deposit.
The Kumalos then raised the deposit of R100,000 and deposited it into the trust account of Morris Makase Attorneys as instructed.
"As first-time buyers we did not know the process but we trusted them as they had successfully sold one (house) to my cousin," said Kumalo.
The house was on sale for R500,000 but the banks could only approve a loan to the Kumalos for far less than the purchase amount.
The Kumalos said they were not aware of this as the banks only communicated with the agents.
"Besides, the loan application forms only had the agents' contact details on them," said Kumalo. They said they had had no feedback from the agents for two months.
"The only consolation was that their attorney had sent us a letter acknowledging receipt of our R100,000," said the couple.
The couple reported their grievances to Mashego and Morgan's employer, only to discover they were not the only victims and that the pair had already been dismissed.
The couple said Century 21 spokeswoman, Kate Touch, also informed them that her firm had no business relationship with Makase Attorneys and that her company had no property on sale in Springs.
Thinking their money was safe in the attorney's trust account, the couple requested a refund.
"The attorney told us he does not know us. He told us he never had any working relationship with us, nor did he meet or consult us about any transaction," said the Kumalos.
Makase Attorneys, however, told Consumer Line they had refunded the Kumalos their money.
The attorneys said they had to redraft a sales agreement which had additional clauses. Makase Attorneys said they later refunded the couple their money after the couple reported the firm to the Law Society, police and a newspaper.
Makase did not say how much was allegedly refunded to the couple, but said he was also entitled to his legal fees.
But the Kumalos have denied being refunded by the attorney.
Sowetan is also in possession of a copy of his (the attorney's) letter he had sent to the Law Society. In it he tells the Law Society of Northern Province that he never had any dealings with the Kumalos.