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South African woman narrates how her Ugandan boyfriend vanished with her R510,000 (UGX 100 million) four months after they met on Tinder

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In a distressing tale of romance gone wrong, South African woman Jabu Nxumalo recounted how her Ugandan boyfriend, Joseph Ssekasi, vanished with R510,000 (UGX 100 million) just four months after they met on Tinder last year.

Nxumalo, in search of an honest and loving relationship, joined the dating app and was soon charmed by Ssekasi, who initially presented himself as Deron Mundari from South Sudan. “There was nothing amiss about the guy,” Nxumalo told IOL News in an interview for their ongoing series on romance scams in South Africa.

“He seemed like a down-to-earth and respectful person. Little did I know that he was in this relationship for a paycheck in the name of love,” she added.

According to Nxumalo, the scam involved a supposed “ancestor’s voice” that instructed her to raise R500,000 (UGX 98 million) from various banks. This money, she was told, was for a mystical scheme involving ancestors and prayers. Ssekasi claimed ownership of a house in Brakpan, where Nxumalo handed over the funds, but she later discovered the house was rented.

As their relationship blossomed, Nxumalo handed over R510,000 (UGX 100 million), while Ssekasi supposedly contributed R700,000 (UGX 138 million) to the investment. Shortly after, Ssekasi informed Nxumalo that he had a business trip in Limpopo, maintaining communication through calls and texts. However, his messages abruptly stopped, raising Nxumalo’s suspicions.

“I was asking myself, who will open for me, when I get there? On May 11, 2023, the date he had said he would be traveling back from Limpopo, I decided to drive to his place during lunchtime. That is when I found a ‘house to let’ sign on the house,” she said. “I was shocked and devastated. I then realized instantly that I had been scammed.”

Nxumalo reported the incident to the Boksburg police station, where she was treated with respect and empathy. However, her hope was short-lived when a detective informed her that the chances of catching the scammer were slim.

“To date, she does not have a photo of my scammer, the person SAPS is hoping to catch one day,” Nxumalo said. A police sergeant’s insensitive remark further compounded her distress, leaving Nxumalo feeling broken and suicidal.

More than a year later, Nxumalo has not allowed the scam to bring her life down. She is now actively involved in campaigns to raise awareness about love scams in South Africa. The Gauteng provincial police confirmed that Nxumalo’s case docket was “temporarily closed,” pending new evidence.

Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo stated, “If new evidence emerges regarding the whereabouts of the alleged swindler, the docket will be re-opened. Anyone who sees him is requested to call the nearest police station. He is required to help police with the investigation.”

Nxumalo now warns women to be vigilant in their relationships, sharing key red flags to watch out for. “Red flags include a new boyfriend who is very interested in where you work and what you do. The scammer will ‘love bomb’ their victims with over-the-top displays of attention and affection,” she explained. “Most of all, if the new boyfriend wants to borrow some money from you … run for your life.”

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