conmen swindle army hopefuls
Hundreds of young people who were turned away from the SANDF's military skills development system selection process in Nelspruit on Monday had been duped by fraudsters.
This came to light after Sowetan asked the national Department of Defence and Military Veterans why these people were turned down at the last minute.
The people had gone to the SANDF combined club in West Acres with the hope of being part of the selection process but an unnamed official told them to go home because soldiers were on strike and therefore they could not be attended to.
Department spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi initially told Sowetan that he was not aware of the incident in Nelspruit but later said he had discovered that most of the victims had been asked to deposit money into certain bank accounts to qualify for the selection.
"A team from head office had been dispatched to Nelspruit for the selection process on Monday but it turned out that most of the candidates had come after having been duped into depositing money into unnamed bank accounts," Mkhwanazi said yesterday.
"Instead of having to deal with the genuine applicants the team members had to run to and from the local police station writing affidavits as people had come with bank deposit slips," he said.
Mkhwanazi said the perpetrators of the scam had asked the public to deposit cash amounts of between R100 and R300 with the promise that they would get employment in the SANDF through its military skills development system (MSDS).
"The department would like to warn the public about a scam that has surfaced in Mpumalanga involving candidates who have applied to join the SANDF."
He said that as a result of the fraud the department was forced to cancel the selection process for invited candidates, which was scheduled from Monday to Friday in Nelspruit.
Qualifying candidates were informed of the new dates for the selection.
"The department would like to inform the public that it does not cost money to join the SANDF," Mkhwanazi said.
"Members of the public are urged to report to the police any person or persons who solicits money from them with the promise of a job in the SANDF."
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Superintendent Abie Khoabane confirmed that police were investigating the fraud allegations but no arrests had been made.