173 KZN teachers bust with fake degrees

2013-02-11 11:34

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Durban - An investigation by the KwaZulu-Natal education department has uncovered 173 teachers with forged qualification certificates and another 14 officials who defrauded the school nutrition programme.

Although the department has not stated how much it had been fleeced by the unscrupulous officials, it has referred the cases for criminal prosecution in various courts in the province and is pressing ahead with recouping the stolen monies.

Department head Nkosinathi Sishi said on Friday the investigations that uncovered the fraud dated back to 2005. “There are 173 cases that we are investigating,” he told the portfolio committee on education.

Sishi also said those initially caught had told the department about others who obtained certificates in a similar way.

“The minute they were found, they spilled the beans about others,” Sishi said, adding that some who submitted forged qualifications had “disappeared” before they were investigated.

Nutrition programme fraud

He also said the department had investigated 32 officials in connection with the school nutrition programme aimed at feeding pupils.

Sishi said 14 officials - including six principals, seven teachers and one security guard - were dismissed after being hauled before a disciplinary hearing.

The 16 others were either reprimanded and given written warnings or suspended without pay.

The department was also investigating 70 other cases relating to the school nutrition programme after those dismissed came with more information.

In an interview at the weekend, MEC Senzo Mchunu said: “There is a list of people to be pounced on. Investigators have their names,” he said, referring to a recent meeting he held with the Hawks on the matter.

The corrupt officials would be made to pay dearly for their actions, and would be blacklisted from teaching again, he said.

He said the law enforcement agencies were hot on the heels of the masterminds of the fraudulent certificates, including departmental officials who turn a blind eye when people submitted fake qualifications.

Mchunu said his department has since introduced stringent measures where new employees' certificates were first verified and their qualifications certified by the SA Qualifications Authority before their employment was approved.

Read more on:    senzo mchunu  |  pietermaritzburg  |  durban  |  education
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