The man from Tsakane township who chose to remain anonymous said when he first heard of the investment opportunity, he was sceptical but was won over by videos of hard cash circulated on social media.
The scheme was managed by Sphelele ‘Sgumza’ Mbatha, now said to be on the run from locals for fear of mob justice.
“I was convinced when a friend who invested R80 000, in three weeks collected R160 000,” he said.
“I was impressed and invested R1 000. Upon receiving R2 000 within weeks I decided to invest a large sum.”
On July 1 he took a bag full of cash to the Bitcoin Wallet offices, where scores who travelled from afar had camped out overnight. He was promised a 100% return, which he would collect on July 19. However, pandemonium broke out when Sgumza could not be found anywhere.
“When the community finally found Sgumza he claimed the municipality forced him to vacate the office due to high volumes of people who slept on pavements and the endless queues in town,” said the man.
“Sgumza promised he would be moving to a different, bigger location to accommodate his clients and that the business would now be online starting on July 6.”
On Wednesday, community members looted and set alight his home following an announcement by Sgumza during a local radio station interview that his website was hacked.
“I cannot even think. It hurts. If he is killed it won’t return the monies stolen,” the man said. “I just want my money back.”
Another 31-year-old general worker based in Ladysmith was lured by prospects of a fortune when a close friend received R100 000 within weeks.
“In May I invested R1 500 and within weeks I received double that amount,” he said.
The man says although red flags were there, the possibility of being a millionaire kept him going back.
“I then decided to invest R5 000 from my hard-earned savings and was due to collect R10 000 on July 10,” he said. “I know of people who pawned their cars, some sold their cattle and thousands went to loan sharks.
“The money he owes us runs well over millions.
“I don’t care what happens to him, I’m just disappointed. They say people will be getting their monies back but what if it’s fake notes?”
When contacted, the Ladysmith police station could not confirm if cases of fraud were opened at the station or the whereabouts of the suspect.