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South Africa: Farmers Warned Against Covid-19 Relief Scammers

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has warned the public, especially farmers, against unscrupulous and faceless people who promise to fast-track farmers’ application for agricultural COVID-19 relief funds.

“These faceless people are calling farmers and sending text messages requesting an amount of R2000 as an upfront payment, promising to fast tract their COVID-19 relief fund applications,” the department said in a statement.

According to the department, the scam artists are parading as government officials.

The fraudulent text message doing the rounds reads: “We see that last year you have applied for Agricultural COVID-19 fund of R50 000 we want to process it fast so can you send R2000 so we can process it before December. Capitec Bank W. WALSH Acc no: 1332654701 Branch Code 470010.”

The department has appealed to farmers to be careful of such fraudulent activities.

“We are appealing to all our farmers to be careful of this fraudulent activities coordinated by unscrupulous and faceless people, it is a scam. Farmers and members of the public must know that they do not have to pay for any government service, especially agricultural relief funding which is meant to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

“The department has finalised the adjudication of all applications received from farmers and the process is now closed. Those farmers who were either successful or unsuccessful have been notified through SMSes,” it said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Human Settlements has urged the public to be aware of a fake Facebook account calling for people to apply for Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) houses online.

“The department will never request you to send your personal information or apply for an RDP house online or request you to share posts on social media platforms in order to get an RDP/BNG (Breaking New Ground) house,” the department said.

The department also urged the public to report any fake or suspicious accounts misleading people about the application process for potential beneficiaries of government-subsidised houses.

“To apply for any of our subsidy programmes, please visit your nearest provincial department of human settlements or local municipality.”

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