How to get swindled in few months
IN MARCH I decided to pay a visit to the offices of Hlala Ethembeni Finances in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni. This was after I had heard a lot about the company that was helping ordinary people to invest in a scheme that would earn them up to 100% in returns within a month.
I arrived in Mova Road, Katlehong, to find at least 100 people queueing outside in the blazing sun, waiting for their turn to make an investment.
It was hard to find parking since cars were jammed together on the small road to the company's offices.
An advertisement board was placed at the entrance, with the company's name and a statement declaring, boldly: "Invest R2,000 and get R3,800 in less than four weeks".
That was also where people gathered to get their membership cards, some to invest while others had come to collect their returns on investments.
A man dressed in a white T-shirt was addressing the restless crowd, appealing for some order and patience
"We have been struggling to control the number of people coming on a single day," the man said.
"We are trying to - at least - make it a 100 people a day," he added.
After his explanation the people, most of whom were women, seemed to have been pacified.
I squeezed my way through to a man in a red T-shirt who was manning the door and told him I was a first-time investor.
In less than five minutes I was ushered into a small office.
I realised that all the rooms had closed circuit television cameras. A notice on one of the walls read: 'With God I am majority' (sic).
One of the women asked me for my ID, address and cell number. She gave me what she called my user-number, telling me to go to another office to make a payment.
The the man took my R1,400, gave me a receipt and told me to come back on April 18.
"Just come on this day," the man insisted.
This article was first published in the Sowetan newspaper on Monday 2 July 2012