Carpenter carves hole into clients pockets, allegedly conning them out of thousands of rands

Nazley and Zaheer Hamdulay in their incomplete kitchen. Picture: Supplied

Nazley and Zaheer Hamdulay in their incomplete kitchen. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 21, 2024


A couple from Durbanville, decided to come forward and expose a carpenter who conned them out of their money, taking thousands of rands from them, without completing the job he quoted for.

The carpenter, Deon de Jongh, admitted that he took over R200,000 from Zaheer and Nazley Hamdulay without finishing the job, claiming ill health.

The Hamdulays said they decided to move back to Cape Town from Johannesburg in 2021 and started renovations at their home while renting a place.

Nazley said her dream home has four bedrooms, a kitchen and vanity bathroom, with an entertainment area by the poolside.

She said De Jong from the firm, The Inside Story, sent her a quote of over R400,000.

“We approached two service providers, one was cheaper than Deon, so we were going to go with her originally, but then he matched her quote and because we liked his ideas and he seemed like a genuinely nice person we decided to instead go with him,” Nazley said.

She added that they were also sold a heartbreaking story about how De Jongh had lost his job during Covid-19 and started up his business.

“In December 2022 we paid a 30% deposit to secure the boards for our home.

“In June 2023 Deon said the deposit needed to be brought up to 50%, so we paid him the additional 20%, so our deposit now stood at R282,226.

“Before even starting the work, he again contacted us and said he needs to bump it up to 70%. At this point we didn’t even see the amount of material we had paid for and we noticed red flags, he didn’t even start on my son’s room, the kitchen, nor the bar/study and the other rooms were far from complete,” Nazley said.

The family was then forced to move in with a family member, while the promises of material were still being made.

Zaheer said the promises then turned into excuses of De Jongh being sick.

“For two months we couldn’t get hold of him. We called the suppliers who informed us that they received similar complaints about De Jongh, eventually when we got hold of him for a meeting, he admitted that he used the money for his personal use.

“He also admitted that no material was secured, he was very remorseful and cried about him being sorry and sick, he even agreed to pay us back an amount of R225,728.

“He would sell his bakkie and start payment, but then everything went quiet again and we learnt that his company was busy being liquidated,” Zaheer said.

The couple said they tried to report the case to the police but were told to go to small claims court.

“When we got there they said claims only go up to R20,000, and said we need to go the legal way.

“We figured this would cost much more to pay a legal team and decided to instead warn people about him and raise awareness, so when people type in his name or business they will see what he is up to,” he said.

The bathroom vanities were also left undone. Picture: Supplied

A disappointed Nazley said De Jongh stole not only their money but the whole experience of moving into their envisioned home.

“That was the most sad part, I was looking forward to my house, my kids were, and on top of that we had to pay another carpenter to finish three rooms, while the kitchen is also still not done,” she said.

A business owner who spoke to Weekend Argus said he had a similar experience with De Jongh who disappeared into thin air after he paid a deposit of over R40,000 into the carpenter’s account.

“We are a group of people who have all been conned by Deon. He uses the same excuse, he takes on clients, asks them to pay a deposit of 70% and later says he is ill.

“I have also tried to send a sheriff to his workshop and address but he moved,” he said.

Weekend Argus contacted Deon, who admitted that things didn't go according to plan, but denied that he is a con artist, stating that he comes from a good family.

“It's just a situation that I am in.

“I am an extreme diabetic, so say about four months ago, I fell quite ill. I am also in a situation where I lost my home, everything and I am staying here and there with friends and trying to get my life back together. The company is being liquidated.

“When I fell ill and the funds started running out, I couldn’t get all of the material, I tried to make arrangements with the suppliers but I am just too ill, I am still very ill and that’s why I needed to liquidate

“So when I am back on my feet, I will try and get a permanent job, something less stressful like the doctor recommended, then I will make a plan, but at this stage I am actually living off other people, so there is no way I can do it now,” Deon said.

Deon said he did not use the money for personal use.

“The money was absorbed by the business and because I am being liquidated, the liquidator advised me that they need to speak to them, all I can say is, things happen and I am not the only one this happened to, so be kind.”

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Weekend Argus

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