An air of anticipation coursed outside the Newcastle Municipality offices along Scott Street on Monday, 28 August 2023. This transpired as a police van pulled onto the premises, its occupants exuding a sense of gravity as they made their way into the Municipal offices.
Upon closer inspection, Newcastillian News ascertained that the law enforcement team’s visit wasn’t aimed at apprehending a municipal official. Instead, the Newcastle SAPS officers had arrived to take a Ward Committee member from Ward 15 into custody.
Newcastle Municipality’s Faizel Cassim explained that although the Municipality was yet to release an official statement, the arrested Ward Committee member faced allegations of fraud.
“The man was going to businesses in Newcastle raising funds for a burial, telling businesses that he was doing so under the instruction of the Mayor, Cllr Xolani Dube.”
Furthermore, Cassim outlined that once he became privy to the alleged activities, he engaged with Cllr Dube on Friday, 25 August 2023, bringing the matter to his attention. Subsequently, law enforcement was notified of the situation.
Newcastle Crime Fighter Task Team member Imran Ghafoor added that he was also notified of the suspect and what he had been up to. Jumping into action, Ghafoor said he obtained a photograph of the man with the relevant documentation.
In addition to Cassim reaching out, Ghafoor also approached the Newcastle Mayor, confirming that the man had been lying and using Cllr Dube’s name under false pretences.
Following the report to law enforcement concerning the alleged fraudulent activities, the individual in question was identified on Kirkland Street on Monday, where he reportedly continued targeting local businesses. Ghafoor noted he responded immediately, and the suspect was then escorted to the Newcastle Mayor’s Office.
After being interviewed by law enforcement and municipal officials, it was then established that the man was a Ward Committee member.
As inquiries unfold to ascertain the extent of the alleged swindling scheme’s impact on local businesses, Cassim confirmed that an official statement from Newcastle Municipality would be forthcoming in due course.
Ghafoor further confirmed the man has since been charged with fraud and officially arrested.
Should anyone have fallen victim to the purported con artist’s activities, they are strongly urged to liaise with the Newcastle SAPS.
We invite Newcastillians to contribute their thoughts on the matter in the comments section below. Your perspectives on the incident are welcomed and valued.
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