Granny scammed by her grandchild

An elderly grandmother, aged 87, took her granddaughter and her son-in-law to court to obtain justice. Picture: File

An elderly grandmother, aged 87, took her granddaughter and her son-in-law to court to obtain justice. Picture: File

Published May 16, 2024


An elderly grandmother, aged 87, took her granddaughter and her son-in-law to court to obtain justice after she had discovered years later that they took the money she gave them to buy a house to be registered in her name, and bought the property for themselves – registered in their names.

The plaintiff, only identified as KMN, turned to the Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, to claim the amount back which she gave them as purchase price. The granny said she wanted to acquire the property to serve as a nest egg for her children and grandchildren one day when she died.

The rental from the property also had to serve as an extra monthly income for her. But by registering the property in their name, her granddaughter and the latter’s husband (the defendants) ensured that when she died, none of the other family members could inherit the property.

The granny explained to the court that she lived with her daughter and two of her other grandchildren in Soweto.

During 2013 the granny developed a heart condition. The pain in her chest turned out to be the result of fluid build-up and she worried that her condition was serious. She feared that, if the worst were to happen, she would die alone in her home, with no-one to help her seek medical attention or attend to her in her final moments.

For this reason, she decided to sell her house and to move in with another of her granddaughters, the first defendant and her husband.

The granny’s Soweto house was sold for about R440 000. She deposited this money into the account of her granddaughter (the defendant) so that the latter could buy her another home in Protea Glen. She intended to use the rent from the property to supplement her income and support her grandchildren.

According to the granny, throughout her stay with the defendants at their Kibler Park property, she received deposits into her account for the rent received in respect of the Protea Glen property.

The granny also made various payments meant to improve the property, principally by the addition of a perimeter wall, and the construction of outside rooms for tenants to occupy.

She recovered from her heart condition and lived with the defendants for around three years. During this time she had an argument with the defendants and it was then that they revealed to her that the Protea Glen house was not in fact registered in her name, but had been transferred to them. The registrar of deeds confirmed this. The defendants shortly afterwards sold the Protea Glen house.

The granny meanwhile claimed R580 000 (being the value of the Protea Glen house when the defendants sold it). She further claimed R275 000 (being the amount the defendants were said to have received in rent on the Protea Glen house).

While admitting that they did buy the house in their own name, the defendants claimed that the R430 000 the granny gave them, was a gift from her to them. They also claimed that although the monthly money paid to the granny was marked as “rental income”, it was really only pocket money paid to her.

Judge Stuart Wilson said it seems to him that the defendants purchased the Protea Glen property in their own name, but let the granny believe that they had purchased it for her.

The granny was gravely ill and of advanced age. The defendants did not expect her to live very long. The evidence is that she had at least three children and several grandchildren, each with a potential claim over her estate.

Putting the Protea Glen house in the defendants’ names would allow them to prevent any of her other relatives from making a claim on it after her death, the judge said.

He ordered the defendants to pay back the R430 000 the granny gave them to buy the house, plus interest on the amount.

Pretoria News