Victims of dodgy ex-cricketer tell how he 'fleeced them with his spin'
The Star ran an exposé this past week uncovering how Mankunzini had apparently defrauded more than 10 people in South Africa, Botswana and his native Zimbabwe of monies ranging from R1500 to R550000.
He presented himself to his victims either as a respected global cricket media pundit or an extensively networked former cricketer who could “open doors of opportunity” for them.
As unemployment continued to climb to worst levels in more than a decade in South Africa, Alice Ndlovu was desperate to see her husband get a job.
She met Mankunzini, who retired from cricket in 2013, through a friend in Joburg, who said the deceitful former cricketer was organising a fully-funded netball tour.
Despite the so-called tour falling through after her friends pulled out suspecting it was a scam, she approached the former leg spin bowler to help her husband get a job.
At the time, her husband had been out of work for a couple of months and her meagre income was barely enough to sustain the whole family.
On November 6, Mankunzini told Ndlovu “his boss” was looking for a driver to transport cricket players from Joburg to Botswana.
“He gave me an email to the supposed boss Riaan Naidoo and so we started communicating. The so-called Naidoo asked if my husband had a ‘cricket certificate’ and I said ‘no’.
“It sounded like the certificate was a prerequisite to get the job so I asked what we needed to get it. I was told it cost R2500,” Ndlovu added.
However, the mother of one, did not have the money and she told Mankunzini, who promised to convince Naidoo to let her husband start work without the certificate.
“A few days later he came back and said Naidoo refused. He suggested we borrow the money and pay. He would then help us pay back that loan once he got paid on November 25 and would get his money once my husband got his first salary of R25000,” she explained.
To convince his victims, Mankunzini sent them a pay slip showing how much he earned.
Assured their benefactor would help them repay the money and then get his money from the first salary, they borrowed R1500 from a loan shark.
“We knew we’d have to pay it back with 50% but we were okay with that because we would be able to afford to pay it after the first salary.”
After paying the full amount, Mankunzini met Ndlovu’s husband, “but the story started looking dodgy”.
The next thing was an email from Naidoo asking him to come to Hammanskraal at 6pm.
“We asked for the office address and when we googled it, the place wasn’t in existence so we felt it would be dangerous to go there using public transport in the evening.”
Thereafter, they started demanding their money back and Mankunzini referred them to a woman called Faith who would process the refund.
While waiting for "Faith" to process the refund, they received an email with a payslip, signed by a Zainab Patel. His net income would be R20210, but his job title was no longer driver, but liaison officer.
Three months later, he is yet to start the job and frantic efforts to get their money back continue.
When asked about the matter, Mankunzini said: “I’ve spoken to Alice and some of the people I owe and made arrangements to pay. I’ve asked Alice to give me until Monday (today).”
For Kudzani Khuphe, Mankunzini seemed to offer an escape from the grim Zimbabwe situation. His sister, who resides in Australia, was keen to help him in his quest for greener pastures.
In 2017, she linked up with Mankunzini on Facebook and enquired about work opportunities in cricket. He assured her he would help her brother get an umpiring job.
But, before that, Khuphe would need an umpiring certificate, which cost R1500. However, the certificate is fact-free.
“My sister immediately sent the money to Dumisani and got me an air ticket to fly to Joburg. When I got to Joburg, my sister sent money for my accommodation via Dumisani. (She sent) R4000 to him for a hotel in the Joburg CBD. "He paid R399 for two nights and disappeared.”
But before vanishing, Mankunzini asked for Khuphe's laptop to install software to help him learn umpiring.
“He started dodging me after that and I was left stranded.”
With Albert Chidi, who runs a guest house in Botswana's capital, Gaborone, Mankunzini brought 10 kids to play in a cricket tournament at Broadhurst Primary School in 2015.
In emails, seen by The Star, sent prior to the tour, he promised they would give the guest house more business with a month-long stay.
“We agreed to have them stay for four days and then pay at the end. On the third day, they left and never came back. The bill was about R8000.”
The International Cricket Council this past week confirmed they revoked his accreditation to cover the recently-ended under-19 World Cup held in South Africa. Cricket SA and Zimbabwe Cricket have both distanced themselves from the ex-Tuskers man.