Lechane Bezuidenhout (born Leon Bezuidenhout in Belgium circa 1967) is a transsexual international con artist. Leon, a Pietersburg Telkom technician, underwent a sex change operation, worked as a waitress before moving to South Africa.
Once relocated to KwaZulu-Natal, in 1995, Bezuidenhout started using the name Princess Charné, and in 1996, with husband "Prince François", promised the then-director general of the provincial government, Otty Nxumalo, that her nonexistent African Business Development Consortium, would invest a large sum of money in a resort near Port Durnford.
Along with her husband, she appeared before the province's constitutional committee, in an attempt for recognition of her royal lineage. The two claimed that she was a descendant of a romantic liaison between a Dutch prince and a Pedi princess, claiming additionally that "François" was related to former prime minister JG Strijdom.
While in Durban, the pair accumulated massive debts, due to elaborate spending, constant chauffeuring, as well as registration documentation for a nonexistent African Television Network. While living in Umhlanga in 1998, they persuaded a local businessman to fund a trip to Limpopo, where they attempted to have the Rain Queen Modjadi to authenticate their lineage. The queen refused, and the media soon revealed the truth of the two. "Prince François", it turned out, was actually Polla Nel from Brakpan, and likely never knew of his wife's previous gender. Very soon afterwards, the two disappeared from KwaZulu-Natal.
Apparently, Bezuidenhout reappeared in South Africa in early 2004, making similar claims, this time as an orphaned princess of Albania, albeit raised in South Africa. She was arrested on April 28 in Pretoria, after allegedly convincing investors to loan money in exchange for inflated returns after regaining her royal title in Albania. Among her possessions at the time of arrest included copies of letters sent to Mark Shuttleworth and to the British royal family, presumably in related concerns.
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