House arrest for Lens land scammer

Sifiso Handsome Litau escaped jail time but will have to pay back money to his victims.

FILE: A Lenasia resident picks up bricks from his demolished house. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A former City of Johannesburg employee convicted of illegally selling off government land escaped jail time but will have to pay back money to his victims.

Sifiso Handsome Litau was found guilty on three charges of fraud in July after selling off land in Lenasia Extension 13.

He and seven others were arrested in March for defrauding dozens of residents by illegally selling the plots.

The group charged locals between R15,000 and R50,000 per property.

Litau apparently took his victims to an open piece of land where he told them to choose a stand.

The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements in 2012 demolished a number of houses in the area.

Litau was on Thursday handed three years of correctional supervision as well as a five-year suspended sentence.

Magistrate Theunis Carstens explained the lenient sentence, saying Litau is a breadwinner.

The magistrate says if Litau is sent to jail, his family will become a burden to the state.

As part of his correctional supervision, he will have to do 16 hours of community service every month for the next three years.

He will also have to pay back a total of R45,000, in small monthly installments, to three victims.

The court heard Litau earns R80,000 form his pest control business.