Three suspects, Gugu Precious Magudulela, 41, Lindiwe Gladys Thango, 51, and Thabane Mbhele, 46, accused of defrauding pensioners in South Africa, have appeared at Vrede Magistrate court.
The suspects were reportedly arrested by the Newcastle Police on March 3, after it emerged that they were targeting pensioners during pension pay-outs at various post offices and homes pretending to be SASSA officials or people selling traditional medicine (muthi) to pensioners.
Brigadier Motantsi Makhele, who spoke for the Police, confirmed the arrest of the suspects.
He said: “ It was alleged that on March 3, during the pension pay-outs, the trio left Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal Province with a hired motor vehicle to Memel in Free State and went to a local post office but couldn’t find any pensioners then proceeded to Zamani Township where they engaged in a door to door campaign looking for their potential targets.
“ The trio apparently got to a certain house where they found a granny and her daughter aged 40. They asked the granny to give them her pension card and identity document so as to register her for food parcels.
“ Then they swapped her original card with another unknown card without her noticing and went to Memel town where they withdrew all the money in the card and shared it amongst themselves.
“Information and description of the suspects was issued to Newcastle Police who pounced on the trio and seized the SASSA card of the pensioner.”