Over 500 women in Matabeleland South fell victim to a scam where they were promised food hampers but ended up losing R25,000.
The alleged scammer, who went by the name Fungai Mutsetwa, reportedly asked each woman to pay R50. The scam came to light when Mutsetwa attempted to use the scheme in other wards in the area.One of the affected women revealed that Mutsetwa collaborated with her agent, Sithembiso Ncube, to execute the scam. Victims were told that they were contributing money for transport for groceries they would receive under the program called ‘Mothers of Today’. Ncube convinced the women that a donor from the United Kingdom supported the initiative. The woman shared,
“Mutsetwa came with this women’s program known as ‘Mothers of Today’. Her agent Sithembiso Ncube, who claimed to be working with her, told us that there is a donor who gives women groceries. We were told to pay R50 for transport as the groceries included a mealie meal and other hampers since this is a drought season.”
Another victim claims they were shown pictures of white people whom they were told were the alleged founders of the ‘Mothers of Today’ program. The victim was also told the hampers included rice, cooking oil, mealie meal, and flour.
The village head, Simon Moyo, also known as Headman Godzi, learned about the scam when it was reported from another ward that had exposed the scheme. He revealed that more than 500 people were scammed in his village, and he only found out about it when Mutsetwa was caught in Madabe village where she had registered 700 villagers.
According to Headman Godzi, Mutsetwa had initially started the program with limited resources but threw a party in Madabe village using the money collected from the first village. When caught in Madabe, she had managed to obtain R35,000 from 700 villagers. Mutsetwa used different names in each location, calling herself Lee Sechilima in Madabe and Fungai Mutsetwa elsewhere.
The matter has been reported to the police, although Matabeleland South Provincial Police spokesperson Inspector Loveness Mangena has not yet received the report due to network challenges in contacting the officer in charge in Mphoengs.