Police launch crackdown on bogus colleges
Johannesburg - Police have launched a national campaign to crackdown on bogus training institutions and say they will arrest "scoundrels".
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said in a statement on Tuesday that police across the country were visiting private schools to verify their status.
It was the responsibility of legal institutions to ensure their status was up-to-date and the courses they offered were properly accredited, he said.
Mthethwa warned students and parents to be cautious of fly-by-night schools and colleges and to contact the department of higher education, the SA Qualifications Authority, education quality regulator Umalusi, and other certification bodies if they were unsure.
"We are mindful that the majority of applicants to legitimate universities and colleges may not be accepted and, out of desperation, may fall victim to bogus institutions," Mthethwa said.
Bogus principals of illegally registered institutions would be charged with contravening the Further Education and Training Colleges Act of 2006 (Act 16 of 2006 Section 28 and Section 31 (3) of the Act and Regulation 12(4)(b).
Prey on unsuspecting learners
If found guilty they faced up to 10 years’ imprisonment or a R250 000 fine or both.
"We know this is the season when some scoundrels prey on unsuspecting learners by promising them a brighter future when, in fact, they are destroying their lives," Mthethwa said.
"We shall not allow this to happen and I have tasked police to double their efforts in uncovering these scoundrels."
Ministry spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said bogus training institutions were unregistered schools, colleges and universities. Prospective students were recruited through websites, newspaper advertisements or brochures handed out on the street.
"Money is paid on registration and the student is given the impression the institution is legally registered," Mnisi explained. At the end of the course, a forged qualification or stolen certificate was issued to the unsuspecting victim.
"These [education] syndicates move from town to town, province to province and even country to country," he added.
Last year Gauteng police arrested Chinese nationals with fraudulent Unisa degrees and certificates. In KwaZulu-Natal police closed a paramilitary training base which claimed to train police officers.