File picture: AP

Durban - A 27-year-old man suspected of defrauding scores of people in Pinetown by promising them employment with the city was arrested in court where he was appearing on an unrelated matter.

Captain Nqobile Gwala, police spokesperson said Pinetown police received several complaints about WhatsApp messages they had received from a person who promised them employment in the municipality at a cost of R3 000 per person.

“Police investigation revealed that the suspect first recruited a cashier from a chicken outlet in Pinetown and promised her what would be a rewarding job in the municipality. The suspect was communicating with the victim via WhatsApp and asked her to pay an amount of R3 000. She then had to send the proof of payment to another man who was supposedly working at the municipal offices in Pinetown and was the one who was going to employ her. The victim only had R1 500 at the time and managed to deposit that amount and sent the proof of payment,” she said.

“A few days later, she was informed by the same suspect that there are two more openings and she can recruit two other people as long as they were going to pay. Indeed, the victim found two of her friends who were equally desperate for a job and they also paid R1 500 each. The three victims were told by the suspect to go to Civic Centre to collect their uniform on 9 February 2018 since they were going to start working on 12 February 2018. They met the suspect in Pinetown where he took a bag belonging to one of the victims, in the bag there were three cellphones, an ID document, resumes for the three victims and other documents. He left them standing by the gate and told them to wait since he was going to process their documents and he never came back,” Gwala said.

She said instead of helping them, he asked for more money from the contacts of the victim through WhatsApp on the victims phones and promised more people municipality employment.

She said he was arrested in the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court where he was appearing for another case unrelated to fraud. He will appear at the Pinetown Magistrate's’ Court on Thursday on charges of fraud and common robbery.

“We would like to warn the members of the public not to pay for employment and to immediately report similar incidents to the police,” said Major General Bheki Langa, KwaZulu-Natal Acting Provincial Commissioner.

Daily News