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Man lodges complaints of racism and forgery

Published Dec 13, 2005


A Durbanville man who alleges he was racially discriminated against and "conned" into a lease agreement by a property agent has lodged complaints with police, the Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal and the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

He will report to the commission that when he complained that the water had not been connected, the letting agent told him he did not see what the problem was, as "not all black people have running water anyway".

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Originally from Johannesburg and now living in Cape Town, Hopewell Kuzwayo alleges that he was conned into signing a lease agreement with a property agent in Tyger Valley on November 29.

He said a racial remark was made by a franchisee when he contacted him about a problem he had been experiencing with an employee of the company. In his complaint Kuzwayo said he paid R4 311.

He said the lease agreement would have been from December 1 but the employee he dealt with in making the payment disappeared and did not return phone calls. He provided another cheque of R3 600 to obtain the keys.

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He said he stopped the cheque after figuring he was involved in a "bogus scheme".

Kuzwayo said he also requested a copy of the lease agreement but the employee refused.

"The alleged lease agreement has since resurfaced from the property agent and was miraculously signed by the landlord or owner on November 29. The lease is a clear forgery and has been back-dated to suit them," said Kuzwayo.

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Police spokesperson Elliot Sinyangana confirmed a case of theft and fraud had been opened.

Later, while attempting to take occupation, Kuzwayo discovered that there was no running water and the property had not been cleaned. He refused to move in.

He was promised his money back. After not hearing from the agent he phoned the franchisee who then allegedly made the racist comment.

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The company's regional franchisor Dino Joannou said he wasn't present when the remarks were allegedly made but doubted that the franchisee would make such statements to a potential tenant.

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