In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
They paid huge sums of money for their dream houses, but they never owned or stayed in them.
They were all allegedly taken for a ride and lost their hard- earned cash to Bhekinkosi Mbuyisa, 46. But police closed in on him and he was arrested last week in Empangeni, north of KwaZulu-Natal.
It is believed Mbuyisa defrauded his clients of more than R1million.
He appeared in the Johannesburg specialised commercial crimes court yesterday. Mbuyisa was charged with theft under false pretence.
Gauteng police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini said: "About 45 people have opened cases relating to theft by false pretence."
Mbuyisa, the owner of BMM estate agency, had an office at Ghandi Square in central Johannesburg from where he "sold houses".
The scam started in 2003 and he used to advertise in Sowetan to lure unsuspecting buyers.
His clients-turned-victims said Mbuyisa was soft spoken and would go the extra mile to help them.
"I paid R70000 cash for the house that I had not stayed in. I still live in a back room in Zola," said Fana Msibi.
Msibi said when he bought the house in 2003 he wanted his children to have a place to call home.
Fanela Ndukula, who paid R68000 for a house, said the first and the last time she saw the property was when Mbuyisa took her to see it.
"What pains me most is to see my children growing up in an uncomfortable situation while I bought them a house."
Saint Khumalo, an SABC freelance photographer, said it took him a year to get into the house after he was given the runabout.
"I'm having sleepless nights because I do not know what will happen because I do not have a title deed."
Another victim, Khetha Mthembu, said he bought the house in 2003 but the same house was later sold to someone else.
"I paid R50000 for the house and R3500 for the change of ownership, but I never received a title deed," he said.
The case was postponed to April 10.