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Amersfoort court postpones bogus teacher’s case

Labane submitted a CV, copies of a fraudulent matric certificate, a BEd degree, and SACE certificates to the school principal, who informed the school management team to consider her application.

Ntombelanga Pretty Labane (40) appeared before the Amersfoort Magistrate’s Court on May 16 after the Hawks’ Secunda-based Serious Commercial Crime Investigation Unit arrested her for fraud.

The court postponed the case to June 13 for further investigation. According to a statement from the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), Labane applied for a business and accounting teaching position at Hlelimfundo Secondary School in Amersfoort on September 1, 2016.

Labane submitted a CV, copies of a fraudulent matric certificate, a BEd degree, and SA Council for Educators (SACE) certificates to the school principal, who told the school management team to consider her application.

They then agreed she was suitable for the post. The principal also informed the School Governing Body (SGB) about the decision taken. The SGB also supported the decision.

The team allowed Labane to apply for the post, and she was given an application document called an EDU 1 to apply.

SGB members and the principal signed the application forms on September 12, 2016. All the relevant documents were sent to the circuit manager in Volksrust, who signed and took them to the Department of Education district office in Ermelo.

The application was sent to the Human Resource Persal (personnel and salaries management system) registry section, and forwarded to the human resource provisioning section.

After the human resource provisioning section checked it, it was forwarded to the employment section, where it was captured and Labane was employed.

A whistle-blower, who knew Labane did not pass matric, reported the matter to the Public Service Commission in Mpumalanga.

According to the statement, the matter was then investigated and findings and recommendations were made.

The principal, circuit manager and the district office were asked about the fraudulent matric certificate.

They reported that they did not notice it was fraudulent because they do not have detectors to verify the validity of documents.

The Public Service Commission referred the matter to the Hawks’ Secunda-based Serious Commercial Crime Investigation for further investigation in July 2022.

During further investigation, it was discovered Labane does not have a Grade 12 certificate and wrote and failed matric four times.

The dates are 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006.

According to the statement, she then forged the matric certificate by putting on the certificate number 040 9517 7028 B, which belongs to another candidate called Nozipho Ritta Ngema.

The results that appeared on her matric certificate were not hers. Labane then took the fraudulent certificate, applied at Walter Sisulu University, and obtained a BEd degree.

She also applied for a SACE certificate with the fraudulent matric certificate.

Labane prejudiced and caused an actual and potential loss amount of R1 292 382.11 to the Department of Education from September 2016, earned during her employment.

During the discovery, Labane abandoned the job and disappeared. The investigation was finalised and the court issued a J175 on April 16 this year to appear in court.

The provincial head of the Hawks, Major General Gerber, applauded the team for the successful investigation that linked the accused to the crime.

He also appreciated whistle-blowers and encouraged them to continue reporting such occurrences because unqualified teachers cannot provide the quality of education demanded and expected by learners.

“It produces poor pass rates and places the education system at risk,” he said.

He suggested and advised departments to put measures in place to verify qualification and employment records and only once verified, employ competent applicants.

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