WATCH: Salga KZN reveals new methods hitmen use to extort money from fearful councillors

Published Nov 10, 2022


Video by Sihle Mavuso

Durban - With many councillors living in perpetual fear of being assassinated, a new trend has emerged where scammers are exploiting this fear to make quick money.

In the new extortion scam, crooks pretend to be hitmen hired by rivals to have them killed.

The fake hitmen then call the targeted councillor and demand that in order for the pending assassination to be aborted, he must pay up more money than that offered by the rival who ordered the hit.

This new emerging trend was revealed by Thami Ntuli, the mayor of the King Cetshwayo District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, who is also the provincial chairperson of the South African Local Government Association (Salga).

Ntuli made these shocking revelations on Thursday in the northern KwaZulu-Natal town of Eshowe where he met with amaKhosi (Chiefs) under the district to table his municipality's integrated development plan.

During his address, Ntuli said councillors have become an easy target for scammers. Among the scams he revealed was the hacking of councillors' cellphones by hackers who later go around asking for money from people, using the councillor's identity and pretending to be in distress and in urgent need of money.

He said this has hit several councillors in the district in recent days and in some cases, the scammers were able to dupe some people into depositing money into unknown bank accounts.

One known case is the one of the mayor of the City of Mhlathuze (Richards Bay-Mpangeni), Xolani Ngwezi whose phone was recently hacked by scammers who were asking for money from people on his contact list.

"There are so many scams targeting councillors these days. In some scams, people call and claim to be hitmen hired to kill a councillor. So, in order for the hitmen not to go ahead with the contract killing, money should be paid to him.

"Fellow councillors, be warned and don't fall for this scam. This is a new scam to try and rob people who are in power, it’s a growing trend,“ he said.

In another bizarre case, Ntuli claimed that some scammers even pose as Hawks officials who are about to pounce and make an arrest. In order for the arrest to be halted, they demand money.

"There is this one case which I know of where someone pretended to be from the Hawks and demanded money," Ntuli said.

Meanwhile, at the same roadshow, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) announced that the next Armed Forces Day would be held in Richards Bay and said procurement opportunities would be given to local businesses.

It also announced that it is going ahead with its plans to establish a world-class naval base in the same port city located on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

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