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World Cup leaves trail of debt for homeowners

By Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi, Luzuko Pongoma and Penwell Dlamini | Jul 13, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

WHILE the rest of South Africa celebrates the hosting of a successful World Cup, hundreds of homeowners hoping to cash in on the tournament are left drowning in debt.

Homeowners renovated their houses and bought furniture, linen and cutlery, hoping they would host fans for the World Cup, but did not see a single fan the entire event.

WCS Big Five Promotions signed contracts with people who would act as agents, distributors and with homeowners.

Big Five was not accredited by Match nor were they affiliated to any tourism authority.

National distributors paid R29000, while agents paid a R9500 joining fee.

An estimated 500 national distributors registered with Big Five.

Each homeowner paid a refundable deposit of R500 with the hope of getting R750 a bed per night.

Bafana Masuku, of Orlando West, Soweto, was a registered national distributor who hoped to make a killing from the initiative.

"Our contracts created great expectations, so we spent money in anticipation of big returns. We were informed that there were people who had already booked and were waiting for our houses. We were pressured to do so."

Masuku said he was left with piles of new linen, urns, and beds which he used to convince homeowners to buy into the idea.

They were expected to also provide breakfast and supper for guests.

According to the contract, a distributor was expected to get 200 beds and an agent had to get 50.

Distributors expected to get 12,5percent per bed while the agents hoped take home 6,5percent from the amount advertised for the house on the company's website.

Big Five checked that houses met the required standards.

With a possibility of making more money once a home had been approved, people broke their banks to exceed the requirements. After approval, many splashed out more on their homes.

Big Five told homeowners they would receive 50percent of payment 14 days before guests arrived and the rest would be paid two weeks after the tournament.

Florida police spokesperson Vincent Mashiteng confirmed that a case of fraud has been opened.


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