Mfuleni housing scandal: Fraud investigation leads to arrest of two City of Cape Town officials | News24

Mfuleni housing scandal: Fraud investigation leads to arrest of two City of Cape Town officials | News24

City of Cape Town mayco member for human settlements, Carl Pophaim.

City of Cape Town mayco member for human settlements, Carl Pophaim.

Supplied by Carl Pophaim

  • An intensive fraud investigation led to the arrest of four people, including two City of Cape Town officials.
  • The arrest was in connection with a housing development in Mfuleni.
  • The four are accused of defrauding 11 prospective buyers, who paid for plots they never received.

An intensive fraud investigation in connection with a housing development in Mfuleni culminated in the arrest of four people – and two are City of Cape Town officials. 

On Thursday, police confirmed the arrests and said seasoned detectives attached to the Western Cape Commercial Crimes Unit were assigned to investigate allegations of fraud after the City last year made available plots for a housing development in Extension Two in Mfuleni.

“Two City of Cape Town officials collaborated with two others to market these plots and, with their criminal scheme, they persuaded 11 prospective buyers to deposit large sums of money into a bank account which was shared with the two officials.

“This fraudulent scheme resulted in a financial loss of R900 000 suffered by the victims for real estate that they never received ownership of,” said police spokesperson Andre Traut. The City officials, aged 51 and 55, and the other two – 28 and 36 – remain in custody.

“As the investigation unfolds, more arrests could be made,” he said. 

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The case was initially driven by the City’s Special Investigative Unit.

Police raided former mayoral committee member Malusi Booi’s offices in March as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of fraud and tender irregularities.

Booi has vehemently denied the allegations against him and has not been charged with anything. 

The City’s Mayco member for human settlements, Carl Pophaim, told News24:

I will not tolerate any instances of fraud and corruption in my directorate, which I have recently taken the helm of. This administration is dedicated to high levels of service delivery, clean governance and good financial practices.

“That is our standard, and anyone who compromises this will face the full extent of the law. Let this be a warning to any official, public representative, or public scammer – we will find you and ensure you face full accountability for your actions.

“City projects will never require prospective beneficiaries to pay money to be on a list or to receive a property. There are countless housing scams we hear of involving private individuals and fraudsters, and the victims lose all their money.”

According to the City, one of the accused officials resigned with immediate effect, while the other is suspended. 

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They are to appear in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on Friday and will face 11 charges of fraud.

The Mfuleni Extension 2 project involved the City making plots available to qualifying beneficiaries for the development of housing.

It is alleged the accused set their price at around R100 000 – and 11 prospective buyers paid amounts for these plots directly to the four accused.