File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Thandiwe Mesele thought she had struck gold when she found a two-bedroom repossessed home for her mother in Ilitha Park, Khayelitsha, in 2016.

Her dream turned into a nightmare as she still has no house and is struggling to get back her R195 000 from Clifton Goldridge, who advertised the home on Gumtree for that price.

Clifton Goldridge buys, sells and holds commercial, residential, industrial and agricultural real estate globally, according to its website.

Mesele, 36, said that at the time it seemed like a bargain because houses were selling for twice the price. “I really wanted to buy my mom a house.”

Mesele contacted the seller and was told to visit their offices at 11 Essenhout Crescent, Plattekloof, where she said she met the owner of the company, Leno de Villiers, and signed the contract.

“I then paid the money. After a few months of waiting, I sent him an email requesting to cancel the contract.

“Najwa Taliep from Clifton Goldridge sent me a form to cancel the contract, which I sent back in July last year. Since then they’ve been quiet.”

Mesele has obtained the services of a lawyer and opened a fraud case with the police. Spokesperson FC van Wyk confirmed the police in Parow was investigating.

Mesele said that since the Cape Times had contacted police, the investigating officer had told her that “every time they go to Leno’s address, his helper says he is in Johannesburg”.

De Villiers and Taliep have not responded to several emails for comment. The number listed for the company was also out of service.

Mesele’s lawyer, Vernon Kathemba, from Kondlo Attorneys, said they were still busy with legal action against the company. 

“We issued a summons for the money and they issued a plea statement defending their grounds,” he said.

“We then requested a pre-trial date so the matter can go to court, but we have not heard back from their attorney. They have to sign the pre-trial minutes. However, it has been over a month now, so we will be approaching the magistrate to allocate a date.”

Kathembe said Clifton Goldridge was denying liability.

On July 18 last year, De Villiers sent Mesele a letter stating they were cancelling the deal but the refund would take some time. They would contact her every two weeks with updates; however, she has not heard from them since, she said. 

“This is the third time I have tried to buy a house for my mom. I am angry because I work hard and want to do the right thing. I saved this money for many years.”