Hendrik Smit ? He started these story writting. I am going to share three real fact stories of what happened to me, Carel Pienaar, over the past 18 months. Maybe even a fourth story. Will see what the legal consequences are before posting. In the 9 years that I have been involved with 4×4 rentals I can share stories that you will tell me I am making them up. Real life can be more interesting than any fiction.
This story starts October 2018. Monday morning. 7am I receive a call from a Hendrik, Oryx 4×4 in Cape Town. I have never met this person or have done business with him before. Apparently, he found me on Google. For a moment I was excited that I was found on Google. At least my marketing is working well. Usually when I get calls this early in the morning it only spells problems. Little did I know what problem this call will create for me over the next four months.
Hendrik’s informed me that he was meeting a client from Germany in about 4 hours time at OR Tambo International Airport. He has engine trouble about 200km from Johannesburg and will not be able to deliver his 4×4 vehicle to the client. He sent me pictures on WhatsApp from him standing next to the road, Picture of oil on the tar. Picture of the 4×4 being towed in. Can I assist with a replacement 4×4 ?
I had a Toyota Hilux available and decided to assist. I also had situations where my 4×4 vehicles gave last minute mechanical problems and I needed assistance from other 4×4 suppliers. Let me play it forward. Next month I may have the same problem and will need help.
I met the clients at the airport a few hours later. Made arrangements for the delivery of the 4×4 for the next day. Payment was already made to Hendrik and he will pay me directly. I had no problem with this arrangement. They had an excellent 2 week holiday in South Africa and Swaziland.
During this period the problem started as Hendrik never got to the point to pay me and somehow always had a valid excuse. Was out of the country. Changing bank accounts. Point is I never got payment for this rental.
More Scams, Fraud
To keep things interesting, he had a second rental that I could take over in a few weeks’ time and this trip starts in Cape Town where he is based. I can deliver the 4×4 and we can sort out the money for both rentals. I can also meet him in person. Sounds good to me. I prepare a 4×4 and get ready for a delivery in Cape Town. I meet the clients. Great people from the USA. Send them off on a four week South Africa and Lesotho adventure. They had a great time. Even sent me photos and video clips of their adventure. I have them somewhere posted on social media.
Hendrik provides me a couple of days later with a proof of payment for an EFT ( electronic funds transfer ). Looks legit. I go to Zambia for a couple of weeks. By the time I am back these payments will be cleared in my account. Two weeks later. No funds in my account. Hendrik put this down to internal bank issues that he takes four weeks to try and sort out. He never sorted this out. Towards the end of this interaction with Hendrik I found that he provided me with a fake / fraudulent proof of payment that he must have made up on PDF or made the payment, got the proof of payment and then stopped the actual payment. Point is there was no payment ever made.
The French Connection
While he is sorting out these payments he has another client that requires two 4×4 Hilux vehicles ( a Captain in the French Navy stationed in Reunion Islands ). As I did not receive any money to date, I insist on full payment on delivery of the vehicles. This is arranged and I drive 2 vehicles to Cape Town for delivery. Client are happy with the vehicles. But last minute they make a mistake to pay Hendrik directly and not me as arranged. I face two options. Stop their tour and demand payment or let them go and collect during the next few days. Clients go on their tour. They still broke a clutch on the one vehicle and bumped the other 4×4.
Enter the Private Investigator
On the same day while we are returning to Johannesburg, I receive a call from a private investigator. He saw on Oryx’s 4×4 Facebook page, a photo with one of my vehicles and wanted to know what my relationship is with Hendrik. I have nothing to hide so I tell him the same story as what I have written about above.
He informed me about the following :
- Hendrik convinced a lady from Italy to buy him 2 4×4 vehicles for rental. He never paid her any money for the use of these vehicles for over a year. She employed the private investigator to recover her vehicles and any money possible.
- The one Hilux had a major accident in Namibia and was written off. This vehicle was never found and the lady suffered the loss. She did not even know her vehicle was in a major accident.
- Hendrik sold off the equipment of the other 4×4 to get extra money. Sold the rood top tent. Sold the fridge.
The Fight Back
This is early January 2019. Now the alarm bells are going off. My approach changed a lot toward Hendrik as I am aware, I am in a scam and will not see any of my money, ever. I find out where he stays. Find out who is his wife. Where she works. I actually met her at the beauty salon she worked. I did not introduce myself but used the info she provided to get a clearer picture of where they stay and other surrounding info. Where the kids go to school. Time for action.
I went to Somerset West ( where he stays ) and force a cash payment of R 10 000. I have done this in a way which I will not discuss on this forum. I did what needed to be done. I think he got worried at this point that his wife or kids may become involved with this messy matter and his attitude towards me changed. Personally, I think he has a split personality or narcists tendencies. He even had another rental for me later the week starting on the Monday in Cape Town. I asked for a R 20 000 upfront deposit. Which was paid and cleared into my account the next day. I never showed up to deliver any vehicles to these clients.
Monday is Monday
I can still remember Hendrik calling me the Monday morning to check if I am still on schedule to deliver the 4×4 vehicles 10 am at the clients. The sound in his voice when he realised, I am not going to be there and that I had collected R 20 000 from him by tricking him was priceless. This whole drama started on a Monday and was concluded on a Monday.
The following rentals and costs Hendrik still owes me :
A – Bejamin Jackson – R 48 925
B – German Couple – R 25 200 ( mom and her son )
C – Pick Up of Vehicle in Windhoek – R 4 825
D – Cape Town One Way Fees – R 6 800
E – Mr FC Junique – R 34 350.00
F = Repairs for Mr Junique – R 6 250
The total value of the rentals and other services are R 126 350.
I have sympathy for a person who runs into trouble and needs help. This was not the case. Hendrik Smit had a good worked out plan. He was prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure he collects money and not pay for any services even if this requires fraudulent activities.
This person is :
Hendrik Johannes Marthinus Smit ( Tihan )
ID : 820212 5210 082
Also likes to call himself Tihan Smit
Last known address :
10 Prince Drive, Heritage Park, Somerset West, Western Cape. Contact Number : 072 599 4460
Written by Carel Pienaar, 11 April 2020
Welcome to contact me for additional information
If spotted or found please report to :
2 – Interpol Africa