Travel agent 'defrauds' gogos
Their hearts have been broken and their dreams shattered after being allegedly defrauded of their hard-earned R85,500.
Soweto pensioners and members of the Ten Sister Burial Society saved money to celebrate their stokvel's 40th anniversary in Cape Town in February but, instead had their money disappearing without any trip.
Now, the owner of African Dula Travel Agency Mduduzi Ncube, who was supposed to organise transport and accommodation for the 19 elderly women, is facing charges of fraud.
Ncube was arrested at the Lanseria International Airport in February, on the day the the gogos' dreams were dashed, after his flight bookings were declined as fraudulent.
Police spokesperson Lungelo Dlamini confirmed that a case of fraud was opened at Diepsloot police station against the businessman.
"It is a case of fraud and the suspect Mduduzi Mncube (sic) is already appearing in court. His next appearance will be on 20 June 2019 at the Randburg magistrate's court."
Patricia Manqele of Orlando said this was the worst misfortune they have ever come across in their 40 years of existence.
Manqele, 68, said they don't wish for Ncube to go to jail, but to simply pay back their monies so they can plan another trip.
"We still need our money back because when he's jailed we still won't get our money back. He may be sentenced to five years and he will probably serve two years behind bars then we'll see him roaming the streets," Maqele said.
"We are not working, we are just pensioners. How dare he rob old pensioners?"
She said she was looking forward to the Cape Town trip which was going to coincide with her birthday on February 1.
"We all wanted to fly to Cape Town and he had told us that we were going to fly at 11am and get to the city at 1pm.
"He initially told us that we should go to OR Tambo [International Airport] but while we waited for our shuttle at Maponya Mall, he said we should head to Lanseria. We argued but because all we wanted was to go to Cape Town, we went to Lanseria," she said.
Gogo said they were told that they would board a Mango airlines flight but were turned back at the check-in after they provided their identity documents.
"We were told to check other flights. There was this other flight which had our matching details but only nine people were booked.
"The tickets were declined as fraud. They were written 'this ticket is invalid for transportation' at the bottom," she said.
She said Ncube tried to book a bus from Park Station in Joburg but all buses were fully booked. "Police then arrested him at the scene," she said.
Ncube asked for written questions but had not responded at the time of going to print.
Association of Southern African Travel Agents membership manager Joanne Erasmus said: "I don't have any record of African Dula Travel Agency registered with us. It is not compulsory for them to register because the travel industry is not regulated."
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