Slick suits, flashy cars and the promise of instant riches were all it took to separate gullible investors from their savings and pension funds.
Early last year Mossel Bay was abuzz with news of a fantastic new investment opportunity offering a massive return of 20% a month. All that investors had to do was buy a second-hand shipping container for R25,000 to receive a monthly rental of R5,000. In five short months the initial investment would have been paid off and from then on clear profit would come rolling in. Mining companies were eagerly hiring the containers, so it was said, for storage and office space.
Seasoned business people immediately dismissed the scheme as too good to be true, but other more trusting souls, easily seduced by a flashily charming young salesman and the prospect of a steady and seemingly secure income, bought into it – some purchasing several containers in one go, apparently convinced this was the opportunity of a lifetime.