This Mitchells Plain man thought it was his lucky day when two government “ministers” offered to give him R10 million.
But he smelled a rat when “all” they wanted in return was a “small fee of R2 300 to release the funds”.
Mogammet Fazloodien, 54, says he nearly fell for the lies of fraudsters pretending to be Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who tried to scam him.
Mogammet is a Commissioner of Oaths, Ward member for Ward 82 and the former Public Relations Officer for the Community Policing Forum in the Plain.
In April, the fraudsters contacted him on Facebook and offered him the money which was to be used for local community projects.
“Sisulu” sent him a message, claiming to have been handed a sum of over R10 million “from the United Kingdom which works with the EDF (European Development Funding) which is a beneficiary for ongoing projects in South Africa”.
“Sisulu” wrote: “I will like to know if you can use funds worth GBP 450 000, which is converted to R10371275,04 to create job opportunities for our citizens and social basic amenities…”
Mogammet says he became excited, and thought the message genuine.
He says: “I thought it was her because recently we had a meeting with officials from Human Settlements where we discussed the open grounds in the community.”
But after two weeks of emailing and messages from a second person posing as Joemat-Pettersson, Mogammet became suspicious.
The penny finally dropped after he was asked to deposit money into a Shoprite account.
“It said I must deposit R2344.90 to a Khomotso I Molele,” he says.
“That is when I knew this was a scam.”
He then decided to string them along, saying he didn’t have that kind of money.
“Sisulu” replied: “You don’t have to worry about that for I am with you and I am giving you the full assurance that all is well and you will be happy to be part of nation-building.”
Mogammet says he didn’t open a case with police because he didn’t actually give them the money.
“But I want to warn people they may target,” he says.
Minister Sisulu’s spokesperson, Ndivhuwo Mabya, says they receive complaints about the scam on a weekly bases.
“We receive approximately 10 complaints about these fraudulent emails per week and have issued statements assuring people it is not Minister Sisulu. I am glad he had the good sense not to fall for it.”