Police have arrested South African alleged holiday swindler Francois Swart. According to AfriForum, Swart has since appeared in court and been granted bail.
Swart faces criminal charges after he allegedly scammed people out of hundreds of thousands of rands in an elaborate Maldives holiday racket.
He appeared in the Modimolle Magistrate's Court on December 28 and was granted bail.
According to provincial police spokesperson, Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba, Swart handed himself over to police and was granted R6,000 bail following his court appearance.
Hlulani said Swart is due back in the dock next month.
In August last year, Swart's company, Priority Escapes cancelled people's trips to the Maldives without warning, this despite receiving full payment.
In an email to clients, Swart said the agency was unable to meet its financial obligations.
IOL interviewed a Durban couple, now living in Dubai, who shared how they paid R63,046.95 for a holiday to the Maldives in September. The holiday never materialised.
AfriForum was approached by aggrieved would-be holidaymakers who filed a criminal complaint against Swart at the Modimolle police station in August last year.
According to the advocacy group, the complainants, Pamela-Anne Dolan and Bugs van Heerden, have welcomed news of Swart’s arrest; however, they have accepted that they will not be paid back the R130,000 that they paid for their non-existent holiday.
“We aren’t doing this for ourselves, but for all the people who have lost money. We believe it is a cut-and-dry case. We were issued travel vouchers to show that our holiday had been booked, when in fact there was no booking at all,” Dolan said.
AfriForum’s advocate Gerrie Nel said that following Swart’s appearance in court and what appears to be renewed commitment from the SAPS to pursue the case, the unit will closely monitor developments and provide support to the police and the NPA if called upon to do so.