Ex-Bafana star ‘scam’ victim

Published Mar 28, 2012



F OR several months, the syndicate allegedly ran a scam fleecing unsuspecting people of thousands of rand by promising them lucrative contracts in the Southern African Development Community and in other impoverished and war-ravaged African countries.

Some of the contracts offered to potential “clients” included the supply of food parcels, bulk water-supply projects and providing security in peacekeeping missions. The value of the contracts ranged between $500 000 (R3.7 million) and $3 billion.

Their fraudulent activities came to a halt on Friday when a sting operation by the Hawks bust them. The arrests were spearheaded by former Soweto top cop Captain Amos Maneta.

The suspects were arrested after some of their victims laid fraud charges when the proposed deals failed to materialise. Four members of the syndicate made their first appearance in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Among their alleged victims is former Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana star Helman Mkhalele, who was fleeced of R120 000.

Lucky Shabangu, a singer-turned-pastor who was part of the 1990s group Twins, is among the alleged fraudsters. He was in the headlines recently after Afro-Jazz star Simphiwe Dana confessed to having an love affair with him, even though he is married.

“Oh my God! I don’t want to comment. Leave me out of it,” said an audibly shocked Dana when contacted by The Star.

The Star understands that Shabangu is out on parole for another fraud case.

He appeared in court alongside three of his co-accused, Khosi Moorosi Tsita, 39, from Cape Town, Prince Chengeta, 51, from Botswana, and Natanje Harvey, 37, from Alberton. They were not asked to plead and their case was postponed to April 2.

Yesterday, detectives pounced on two other alleged accomplices at the Southgate Mall near Soweto. They were arrested after one of their victims spotted them at a Nedbank ATM and phoned the police.

Shabangu’s twin brother Nhlanhla was at the scene when the police swooped on his sibling.

One of the syndicate’s victims, who wants to be known only as Paul, said he lost R1.25m to the scam.

He said he had paid R800 000 for a $50m water project in Limpopo and R450 000 for a $20m sunflower oil supply contract in Mozambique.

Another victim, a broker and financial adviser who gave his name as Andre, was allegedly conned out of R50 000 for a $2m contract to supply rice to Botswana.

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