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Student loses thousands in accommodation scam

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Aarti Bhana
January26/ 2017

A Wits University student has lost over R8,000 in a scam involving student accommodation in Braamfontein.

Victor Mabunda, 22, a fourth-year student, was conned off his money two weeks ago and instead of spending his first night in a new flat, the Giyeni, Limpopo, student found himself sleeping in one of the university’s libraries instead.

Mabunda says he had responded to an advert for the accommodation on Jorissen Street on the the classifieds website OLX and while he had spoken with the individual who placed the advert, he had never met him in person.

“I called the number and the man insisted that I take the place because many people were after it”, said Mabunda.

Mabunda said he was desperate for a place and decided to make an immediate deposit of R4200 into the landlord’s bank account. Shortly after, Mabunda got a call requesting an additional R4000 for the month of January.

Mabunda said he was told that he would receive the key and access card immediately and could have stayed there the same evening but he received no response from the landlord forcing him to spend the night in the library.

Mabunda, opened a case at the Hillbrow police station soon after. Despite repeated attempts, the communications officer at the station could not be reached for comment on the case.

Following Mabunda’s experience, Wits University issued a communication about a conman targeting students in Braamfontein. The communication warned that, “There is a conman in Braamfontein. He apparently put up adverts in the area claiming to have student accommodation in Jorissen street. He has already taken a substantial amount of money from one of our students as a deposit and first month rental.”

Students needing assistance with accommodation should refer to the Central Accommodation Service at Wits for assistance.

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Aarti Bhana