conma strikes

Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

Sarah Makhetha, of Central Western Jabavu in Soweto, was shocked when she received a letter from an insurance company demanding payment of R25000 for a loan she knew nothing about.

It also emerged that she owed R13000 for household goods and furniture and a further R2999 for a cellphone she did not buy.

Now furniture shop Lubners and insurance company Metropolitan and the police are looking for a woman - described as fat and clumsy - who masquerades as Makhetha.

Police say they do not understand how the woman came to possess Makhetha's personal information. She is said to be using an identity document with Makhetha's details, but with a different photograph. The date of issue of the ID is also different.

The fraudster went on a shopping spree using Makhetha's profile.

Lesley Maele, store manager at Lubners in Protea, Soweto, said a middle-aged woman, who was a bit overweight and very different from Makhetha, opened an account and bought a double door fridge, an electric stove, a queen-sized bed and a top-of-the-range cellphone.

"She used a walking stick and was all calm when she came in, we helped her like any other customer.

"She said she was a nurse at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital and produced all the necessary documents - an identity document and bank statements," said Maele.

The Nedbank statement that the woman produced showed that she earns R12000 a month, while the real Makhetha earns less than R6000.

Maele said the fraudster answered every question confidently.

She was given credit and instructed the store to deliver the goods at a house in Phiri, Soweto.

The goods had to be returned to the store because the client was not there to sign for them.

She had taken with her the cellphone and bedding.

The real Makhetha, who works at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital's paediatric ward, told Sowetan she was having sleepless nights and not eating properly.

She has since opened a case of fraud with the police.

"This has brought misery and stress in my life," she said.