Durban – A 28-year-old man who allegedly posed as the eThekwini mayor is due to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court today facing an extortion charge.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the man was arrested in a sting operation on Saturday while picking up a R200 000 bribe for a R1 million contract under the pretence he was the mayor.
“It is alleged that the man pretended to be mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. He offered a woman a contract where she would be paid more than R1m on condition she paid R200 000 in cash up front. She was also promised to be the ‘first lady’ after the deal had been secured.
“The woman became suspicious and reported the incident to the police after she was instructed to put the cash in a plastic bag and wait for further instructions at a taxi rank. The police intercepted the suspect after he received the cash, which he had instructed the woman to place in a bin at the taxi rank. The cash he had accepted was recovered in his possession,” said Mbele.
She said the man was charged with extortion after his arrest on Saturday by police officers from the Provincial Organised Crime Unit and metro police in Berea.
The municipality said it had received reports that someone had hacked the mayor’s cellphone and used it to extort money from the unsuspecting public in return for jobs and contracts.
“A few weeks ago, the municipality issued an alert notifying the public about an imposter who created a Facebook account under his name to advertise jobs,” read its statement.
Mayor Kaunda warned the public to be vigilant of criminals using his name to extort money with the promise of jobs.
“As the mayor, I will never use social networks to advertise jobs. The municipality has official platforms where notices for employment and tenders are advertised.”