Bushbuckridge councillor accused of defrauding students of over R800k

About 351 students were defrauded for a youth training programme allegedly run by the councillor that was not accredited.

Member of municipal council (MMC) Mphikelele Learnard Malomane, 43, and his accomplices, Bongani Sibuyi and Palesa Pertunia Maja, appeared before the Bushbuckridge Magistrate’s Court on Friday for fraud and theft, reports Mpumalanga News.

It is alleged that in August 2017, Bushbuckridge Local Municipality in collaboration with Leadership 2020, invited the youth for training in leadership skills and sales. Each interested individual applied, submitted their curriculum vitae and they were instructed to pay an administration fee of R2,500 into a First National Bank (FNB) account.

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About 351 learners deposited the money which amounted to over R800,000. The programme was not credited by the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA) at the time when the service provider, Ultimate Training Programme (UTC) was appointed, with Sibuyi as the project manager.

Successful candidates signed the learnership agreement forms and contract, which stipulated that they were to receive monthly stipends of R3,000 for a period of five months. On the third month, Sibuyi disappeared and left the learners stranded. An investigation conducted by the Hawks’ Investigation revealed that the owner of UTC was deceitfully told that the project was cancelled by the municipality before it even started, and that their services were no longer going to be required.

The three appeared in court on Friday and were all granted R3,000 bail each. The case has been postponed to the June 6, pending further investigation.

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