Dad tells how guard duped him

2012-11-26 00:00

SHORT cuts are not only dangerous, but can also be costly, as a Pelham father found out recently when he was conned by a school’s security guard.

Muzi Khumalo, who was desperate to get his child accepted at a Pietermaritzburg school, says he was swindled out of R3 000 by the security guard, who promised him a place for his child at the school.

And, it appears, he is not the only one to have fallen victim to the scam.

Khumalo had been shopping around for a school for his child, who will be in Grade 1 next year.

The school, which is within walking distance of his home, seemed perfect. The school is not being named to protect the guard, who has not been charged.

Khumalo said he had gone to the school several times to ask for application forms and became familiar with the female guard, who ushered visitors to the administration office.

“I’d leave the office and the lady, who was always roaming around the school’s premises, would ask me how things went. I’d tell her that I didn’t get the forms and she would sympathise with me.”

However, in May, when Khumalo returned to the school, he was handed forms by the woman and promised that his application would be placed “on top of the pile”.

“She said I should not worry because she had connections. I should expect a call.”

On November 1, Khumalo said he received a call from the guard, who told him that the school was calling parents for orientation, and in the same breath tried to “borrow” R15 000 from him.

“She said she needed money to buy a house in Oribi, and in return she would help push my form. I told her I didn’t have R15 000. The following day we met and I gave her R3 000 in cash.”

After waiting in vain for a call from the school to give him the good news, he went to the school to enquire whether his child had been accepted.

And that was when the penny dropped, because he was told there was no record of his application and the school was already full for 2013.

Khumalo said he had acted out of desperation and trusted the “decent lady”.

“It pains me that my child doesn’t have a school. I didn’t apply to other schools because I was confident that my child would be accepted at that school.”

The school principal, who would not be named, said the guard left the school a week ago due to “ill health”.

He said the guard denied the allegations.

“We’d love to help the parents, but it’s sad because there’s nothing I can do about it because there no proof. It’s the parents’ word against hers.”

He suspects she stole application forms because she had access to the administration office.

Khumalo said he believed about 15 other parents were conned in the same way. The principal said Khumalo was not the only victim, but could not say how many others had complained.

Khumalo has opened a fraud case against the woman.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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