In 2012 and 2016, the Daily Voice exposed the South African Cape Corps Military Veterans Association (SACCMA) as fake.
Charges of fraud were laid against the alleged mastermind of the scam, “General” Jan Alexander, while the SA National Defence Force confirmed it had no ties with the organisation.
The SACCMA, also operating as the Khoisan Kingdom and All People (KKAAP), promised desperate people guaranteed jobs in the army with salaries of up to R45 000 a month.
People had to pay a “joining” fee ranging from R150 to R2 000, however, in the latest instance, recruits said no fees were requested.
Kennith Mecuur, 28, from Roodepoort in Gauteng, says a woman from Athlone came to recruit them.
“She told us about this exciting opportunity as her brother works at the place. We were told we would be paid R20 000 and as we got placed as permanent officers in the army, our pay would go up. The community raised monies for 20 of us to come to Cape Town,” he says.
He says most of them were unemployed but some people left their jobs for the “opportunity”.
But everything turned sour when they got to the SACCMA facility in Petunia Road, Bridgetown, last Tuesday.
Mecuur says about 80 recruits were occupying a hall and conditions were inhumane.
“When we got to Athlone, our phones were taken immediately. It was a hall and we had to sleep on the floor, there were no mattresses,” he says.
“The men were on one side, women on the other. The toilets are broken. We bathed in emmertjies, there was only hot water in the female bathrooms.
“There was hardly anything to eat. If we did get anything it would be in small portions and they would say it was to build our strength for the army. If you fall asleep they hit you behind the neck.
“We were told not to give anyone information on what is happening there. People in the area asked and they told people it was a centre for youth.
“I’m lucky to have family in Cape Town who could take me away. The others cried when I left, asking me not to leave them behind.”
His aunt, Aisha Arnold, says she went to the facility herself.
“I asked questions and was given the run-around. They did no medicals, fitness tests or criminal records, does that sound right?” she says.
She says the other recruits are desperate to go home but need help.
“Those children are hungry. My son, who has stalls, went to drop vegetables there and when he fetched Mecuur, the others stood there tearful.
“Those children are scared and want to go home. My daughter notified me the woman who recruited these children fled to Mosselbaai after parents started asking questions in Roodepoort.”
The Daily Voice visited the facility, where the “principal” refused to comment or identify himself.
“We would like you to please leave the premises. We do not speak to media,” he said.
Spokesperson for the SANDF, Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, on Thursday confirmed the “recruitment” was a scam and reiterated they had no ties with SACCMA.
“The SANDF does not use any veteran organisations to recruit. The mention of integration is also not true. SANDF does direct applications with applicants,” Mgobozi said.