Last year’s winners of the Sebenza Women’s Awards are crying foul after they were scammed by people masquerading as “Channel O Awards” organisers.
Sinethemba Nene and Ntokozo Mdletshe blame the Channel O Awards organisers for losing R3,000 and R6,650 respectively.
Endorsed by awards organisers
“On the 8th of January this year we were contacted by Mr Langa Hlatshwayo and Ms Gugu Madonsela who are board members of the Sebenza Women’s Awards. They were telling us about a great opportunity to participate at the Channel O Awards.
“They told us they were fostering a relationship with the channel since we had just won the awards. The organisers said they handpicked us so that we attend the award ceremony in Johannesburg. There we would have a big time dining with celebrities and all that jazz,” said the two women.
The ladies believed they were dealing with proper people since they were endorsed by the Sebenza Women’s Awards organisers.
Fabricated proof of payment
“Regrettably, this opportunity turned out to be a scam as we were provided with fabricated proof of payment. We were instructed to make immediate payments to a travel agency for flight tickets and event-related activities. The money was to be reimbursed to us as the payments by Channel O reflect on our accounts.”
Now the ladies want the Sebenza Women’s Awards organisers to take responsibility for their financial losses.
Awards organisers blamed for negligence
They feel their endorsement of the Channel O gig was at the root of the problem. It was done without conducting due diligence or verifying the legitimacy of the arrangement. This has led to their financial distress.
“We demand the reimbursement with immediate effect from the date of receipt of this letter. Failure to comply will result in legal action being persuaded against the Sebenza Women’s Awards Organisation.”
Sunday World has in its possession WhatsApp conversations of the scammed ladies with Mr Langa and Ms Madonsela, and proof of payment.
Organisers respond, deny involvement
The Sebenza Women’s Organisation, upon receiving a call from Sunday World, moved swiftly to post a statement on their Facebook page on Wednesday evening.
“The executive would like to raise alarm and caution its former winners and participants and the public at large to be aware of those using its name to scam people and promising opportunities.
“We are aware of four of our previous winners who we cannot name at the moment. Two of them unfortunately fell victim to the scam allegedly carried out by a ‘representative’ of Channel O known as ‘Kutloano Pitso, Head Manager, Dstv Channel O’.
“We distance ourselves from this individual. We do not know him, we are not associated with him and never worked with him before.
Caution to winners
“The Sebenza Women’s Awards understands that many of our people are already suffering economic hardships. And would not want to add on to those frustrations.
“You are warned not to entertain any calls or text messages soliciting funds from you in the name of the Sebenza Women’s Awards or its executive.
“If confronted by such a request, please do not hesitate to report the matter to the relevant authorities. We will not be held liable for any monies scammed in our name.
The Sebenza Women’s Awards excuses itself from any fraud and scam allegations,” read the statement.