JOHANNESBURG – A self-styled Zimbabwean pastor – working with some unscrupulous Randburg Department of Home Affairs staff, recently swindled his countryman of R7.500, claiming he could process a work permit for him.
Praymore Ncube, originally from Gwanda, says he was tricked by Lungile Ndhlovu, a Yeoville-based pastor of the 12 Apostles church.
Ncube was told to pay a total of R9.000 by Ndhlovu, ostensibly for the self-styled pastor to facilitate the processing of a work permit for him, using contacts from inside South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs.
However, the story has taken several twists and turns after the 31-year-old Ncube paid the first R7.500, including claims he would be assisted to get a birth certificate and a South African green identity document, which was not the initial agreement.
“I did everything in utmost good faith, as I trusted Ndhlovu, whom I knew that he is a pastor, not knowing that I was throwing my money into a hole,” said Ncube.
“After paying a total of R7.500 Ndhlovu began to play a hide-and-seek game with me and he would sometimes ignore my calls.”
Ncube, who is now planning to make a police report, gave Ndhlovu R6.000 in cash, before he made a deposit of R1.500 into the pastor’s FNB account on April 9 this year, a slip of which shows was made at 1402hrs. Ndhlovu took Ncube he would take him to the Randburg DHA offices to process his application, where some suspicions were raised.
“When we arrived at the Randburg home affairs offices, they extracted my fingerprints using a small machine, but to my surprise, the fingerprints were not transferred to forms as is customarily the case,” said Ncube.
“After that I was told to go outside and wait for them to process the papers, where about half an hour later, Ndhlovu came and asked me to go and collect my birth certificate. To my surprise I was told that my papers were done under the name of Makabongwe Damoi.”
Ncube has the copy of the birth certificate in his possession, but he suspects the document could be fake or a duplicate, which he does not want to use.
Having paid a total of R7.500 and still willing to pay the R1.500 balance to get the identity document, Ncube says Ndhlovu panicked when he told him that some people had told him the birth certificate was fake. Ndhlovu’s promise to field questions with the home affairs officer who assisted them have so far not been fulfilled. He later asked Ncube to meet him at the Harrison home affairs offices, in the Johannesburg city centre to solve the problem, only for a man called Thulani Ndlovu, who introduced himself as Gcwensa, to turn up.
“I had R1.500 to clear my balance that I owed Lungile. When Gcwensa phoned Lungile and told him we were together, he told us to proceed to home affairs and upon getting there, Lungile claimed he was busy sorting out birth certificates for some people and told Thulani to take over since he was a home affairs employee,” added Ncube.
“I took fingerprints as Thulani completed some forms, on which I put my signature. He said I had to pay R4.500 for his services because he had not benefited from the initial R7.500 I had paid to Lungile.”
For them to start processing his papers, Ncube gave Thulani R1.500 and was told to deposit R1.000 into Gcwensa’s FNB account, ostensibly meant for some home affairs employees who are part of Gcwensa’s circle.
“I deposited R1.000 into the FNB account that Gcwensa sent to me via a sms. The deposit slip had the name F. Ndlovu though I don’t know what the letter F stands for.”
A week later Thulani called Ncube, asking if he had received the message from home affairs, claiming they were fast-tracking the issue of identity documents for people to vote in the South African general elections of May.
“After that conversation, he told me he was going to push the Pretoria guys to do it fast. Four hours later, I received a message that my I.D was ready. I sent the message to Lungile, who said the message was not correct and promised to talk to Gcwensa. Gcwensa said the message was correct as it was for people who apply for identity documents while they are old.”
When Ncube went to Harrison home affairs to collect his document on instructions from Gcwensa and told him that he was R1 000 short of the R2 000 he owed them, he was told to come back with the full amount before he could collect the identity document.
“As per his word I left and went back because he could not take my story. I was surprised when Lungile phoned me in the evening the same day saying Thulani had told him that I did not pitch up to collect my identity document and told me to meet them at the offices the following day. When I met Gcwensa at the basement, he asked me to give him money and I refused and asked to see Ndhlovu instead and he called him. Ndhlovu told us to go to the fourth floor, where upon arrival I paid Ndhlovu the money,” added Ncube.
“Gcwensa then told me to go outside and wait for a call where they were going to tell me the name of the lady teller from whom I was going to collect my document from. After about four hours he phoned me saying the lady who was supposed to help me was very busy.”
After hours of waiting, Ncube was shocked to get a call from Gcwensa telling him to go as they were knocking off. That marked the beginning of false promises, where the two conmen either ignore Ncube’s calls or make false promises of meeting him.
“I finally asked them to refund me so that I can pack my bags and go back home. I have lost a lot of money phoning them and going to town to meet them but they would neither come nor at least inform me that they were no longer coming,” said a distraught Ncube.
“Lungile later promised to pay me back, but it has only turned out to be lies. I am fed up with these guys and I can’t take their lies anymore because it’s now crystal clear to me that they are not genuine.”
Investigation are still underway to dig more into the issue. The complainant’s phone has been ringing unanswered for a couple of days, for an update on whether he has finally made the police report, or has been refunded.