South Africa: Suspected Conman Arrested After Asking for Money for 'Brother' Affected in Hoërskool Driehoek Tragedy

The scene at Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark after a walkway collapsed.

"I am sick to my stomach. I can't believe anyone can be so heartless as to exploit a tragic situation such as at Hoërskool Driehoek for personal gain."

These are the words of Belinda Kriel, a volunteer who is assisting people affected by Friday's tragedy in Vanderbijlpark.

Three learners were killed when a slab of concrete broke loose from a walkway between two buildings at the school and came crashing down on top of them.

Over the weekend, a fourth pupil - 16-year-old Marnus Nagel - died as a result of his serious injuries. Twenty pupils are still being treated in hospital.

Claims

Kriel said she was very surprised when she received a text message on Saturday afternoon from a man calling himself George Nagel, who claimed to be Marnus' older brother.

"He said he wanted R300 so he could get to the Union Hospital in Alberton, where Marnus was admitted. I told him that I would give him the money.

"We arranged to meet at a Pick n Pay branch which, oddly enough, is situated right next to Hoërskool Driehoek.

"I really felt sorry for him when we met. He was crying and hugging me, telling me how grateful he was for the generosity."

'Co-payment'

One Sunday morning, Kriel once again received a message from the man. He sent a text saying that his brother was now "in heaven".

"This time, he asked for R500, as he had to make a co-payment to an ambulance service."

She then discovered Marnus did not, in fact, have an older brother.

When she confronted him in a text message, he admitted that he was lying. She reported the matter to the police.

Klippies Kritzinger, CEO of the Golden Triangle Chamber of Commerce, has started a crowned funding project to assist with the disaster.

Kritzinger confirmed that the conman was arrested on Sunday night at his home in Vanderbijlpark, where he lives with his mother. He is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

Source: News24

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