Police close in on swindlers of jobless

Sakhile Mokoena

Sakhile Mokoena

Mpumalanga police say they are making headway in their bid to crack a syndicate that has conned unemployed people out of thousands of rands with promises of jobs.

The syndicate swindled more than 70 people in Barberton out of about R294000 since 2004.

On Saturday a sangoma who recruited people for the syndicate was arrested and charged with theft. The 43-year-old woman was released on R500 bail in the Barberton magistrates' court. Her case was postponed to June 15.

She was found in possession of a list of names and a pile of bank deposit slips.

She was the first victim of the syndicate. She had paid the syndicate money to get jobs for her younger sisters, and then joined them.

Police spokesman Constable Jabulile Ndubane said the syndicate told the woman to recruit more people.

The syndicate, believed to be based in Johannesburg, told the woman to collect money from "clients" and deposit the cash into the syndicate's account.

When the time for training came, somebody called with excuses such as insufficient number of trainees and postponed the date.

At one time people were told to wait for the bus which would take them to their new jobs. But the bus never arrived.

A person called and said they had arrived late and the bus had already left. They were then given another date on which the bus was supposed to come, but again no bus arrived.

In March, some people laid a charge against the sangoma.

Police investigators have tracked down the account into which money was deposited.