Belhar women falls victim to ‘luxury house’ scam

Camps Bay. Picture: Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

Camps Bay. Picture: Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 14, 2023


Cape Town - A Belhar mother claims she was scammed out of R12 000 after paying for a stay at a luxury holiday house in Camps Bay for her son’s birthday in December.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said they saw the “mooi villa” on Perfect Holidays’ Cape Town’s Facebook page and immediately enquired about it in January of this year.

“My cousin went on Facebook and she showed me the place. I then called and a man by the name of Gary referred me to his colleague, Zephane, who said there was an availability,” she said.

According to the woman, she paid the deposit of R12 000 on the same day to secure their stay for the 18 guests from December 26 to 29 to celebrate her son’s crown birthday on the 27th.

“The same day we spoke, that is the day we booked the place because it is my son’s crown birthday now in December,” she said.

She said after arranging “all the other stuff for the celebrations”, a week ago they decided to view the place before they paid the other R11 987 that was outstanding.

“We got to Camps Bay but there wasn’t a Moolman Road, we searched and searched and then we went to the police station and were told that there wasn’t an address like this.

“They saw the name Zephane and said someone reported a similar case and it was opened in Blaauwberg,” she said.

A few days later the family from Belhar found the address in Blaauwberg, only to find out that they had been scammed.

“When we got to the address in Moolman and knocked on the door, a lady came out and said the house is not for hire or any rentals.

“We called Gary and he gave lots of stories, this is when we knew that this wasn’t a legit thing,” she said.

Perfect Holidays Cape Town has allegedly blocked the woman’s number and isn’t responding to her messages. A case was registered at the Belhar police station, however, SAPS couldn’t confirm it yesterday.

SAPS spokesperson, Joseph Swartbooi said: “Kindly be advised that your enquiry will receive attention tomorrow when we are in a position to access the Cas system.”

The Cape Argus reached out to Perfect Holidays Cape Town via their WhatsApp business page and Zephane said that she wasn’t aware of the allegations and referred us to her office, who also did not respond to phone calls or emails.

“I’m currently not aware of the allegations, however you can contact our offices.”

Minutes after her reply, Zephane deleted all of her WhatsApp messages.

The heartbroken woman said that she hadn’t slept properly since the ordeal.

“All the 18 people paid 1k each for the three nights, it’s an embarrassment and here is Christmas around the corner.

“Since we found out I can’t sleep properly but I have also found another venue to accommodate my son’s friends,” she said.

Meanwhile, Irene Smith, the legitimate owner of the house, said that she is aware of the woman who was scammed.

“I don’t think it’s the first time. I belong to a WhatsApp group and I see this all the time – people arrive from overseas and book accommodation, but when they arrive here they don’t have any,” Irene said

Cape Argus