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Monday Nov 13, 2017

Legal firm probed in house sale scam

The Cape Law Society has received several complaints about a law firm allegedly involved in property scams in Cape Town.

Weekend Argus reported last week that Pamela Tsengiwe and candidate attorney Kwezi Canca, of Tsengiwe Mbeleni Attorneys, were allegedly implicated in a housing scam which saw would-be property purchasers lose thousands of rands in suspect transactions.

Frank Dorey, of the society, confirmed that complaints had been received and were being investigated. He would not say how many complaints had been lodged.

Weekend Argus is aware of six people who responded to advertisements about houses for sale in Delft and Gugulethu on the Gumtree website between December last year and March.

All the buyers spoke to Weekend Argus independently and described having met estate agents who showed them the property and led them to the attorney firm's offices in Long Street.

The firm subsequently moved offices without notifying them.

One of the buyers is a widowed mother of four from Gugulethu who received a Road Accident Fund payout in connection with the death of her husband in a car accident a year ago. She saw an advert on Gumtree for a two-bedroomed house and decided to buy it for herself and her children.

She told a similar story to that of a Bellville teacher reported in Weekend Argus last week, highlighting an estate agent who took her to Tsengiwe's offices in Long Street.
After paying R4 000 cash at the attorney's office for what she believed to be a legitimate sale agreement, she went on to transfer R106 000 to what she believed to be the seller's account. After a few days she could not get hold of the estate agent, the seller or the attorneys.

A police investigator close to the matter said dockets had either gone missing or been shifted from one station to another for investigation without being finalised.

"The society has received complaints involving Ms Tsengiwe, which are being investigated," Dorey said. According to the society's records, Tsengiwe is a registered attorney and Canca is a candidate attorney, he said.

"Any member of the public who believes that he or she has been prejudiced by the conduct of an attorney is encouraged to lodge a complaint with the society," Dorey said.

  • Report estate agent misconduct to board

    Would-be purchasers should find out whether an estate agent is registered before going ahead with a transaction, advises Deli Nkambule of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB).

    She said that before agreeing to buy property through an agent, people should contact the board on 087 285 322 to verify that the estate agent was registered and legally entitled to operate as an estate agent.

    "The board has received a number of complaints regarding bogus estate agents, which are being dealt with in terms of the act," Nkambule said.

    If a registered estate agent is found to be involved in misconduct, any member of the public can report them to the EAAB.

    "The board can institute disciplinary action against the agent. However, it is important to note that (complainants) will need to report the matter to the SAPS to investigate and arrest the relevant perpetrators as the board does not have arresting powers," she added.

    Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

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