The commission on restitution of land rights has warned about a scam that targets people in the Eastern Cape, promising to fast-track their land claims.
Nomfundo Ntloko-Gobodo, chief land claims commissioner, said government programmes did not require citizens to pay for services.
“Ruthless scammers are swindling the vulnerable land claimants in the Eastern Cape out of their hard-earned money, while purporting to help finalise their claims.”
The commissioner was reacting to information received from the office of the regional land claims commissioner about land claimants from areas including Sterkspruit, eMaXesibeni, Bizana, Flagstaff and Idutywa.
These areas have allegedly been targeted by scammers who persuade people to pay thousands of rands for help with or fast-tracking of land claims, Ntloko-Gobodo said.
“We advise communities to contact the local land claims office for advice, guidance or information on the status of claims, before deciding to embark on a parallel process that requires them to pay money.
“We are best placed to assess the need for external assistance and can determine if such assistance, even from attorneys, is warranted and in good faith,” she said.
With a 21-day nationwide lockdown looming, Ntloko-Gobodo fears perpetrators of the scam will capitalise on this period to access more communities and persuade them to part with their money.