Govt clerk paid in jail

2012-07-16 00:00

A FORMER employee of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education is probably the richest jailbird at Westville Prison as she has continued drawing her salary of R7 500 for five months while behind bars.

When contacted by The Witness about this, the department had no idea that its former admin clerk, Grace Ngcobo, who was sentenced to six years in jail for fraud in February, was still being paid her normal salary.

Spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the head of department was not aware of this, but would investigate why the salary was not stopped when she was sentenced.

It appears that Ngcobo, from Oribi Village in Pietermaritzburg, has been quite the smooth operator after first fooling the department into thinking that she was off sick while she was in fact in police custody.

According to the charge sheet, Ngcobo was convicted and sentenced by the Durban Magistrate’s Court for fraud and forgery in February.

She made her first appearance in court in March 2008 and was granted bail, but was later taken into police custody when it was cancelled last year. While she was in police custody, her colleague submitted a doctor’s note to the department on her behalf, which stated that Ngcobo was not fit for duty for 26 days due to a “left leg cellulitis”. When the 26 days were over, the same colleague submitted another note from the same doctor giving her 26 days more for the same “left leg cellulitis”.

In 2011, Ngcobo started using Magwaza as her surname, but it is not clear whether it was one of her many aliases, which included Hlengiwe Zulu, Margaret Matyeni,Veronica Nxumalo, Ntombiziningi Madlala and N.G. Rangane. When she was arrested, Ngcobo was found in possession of several identity documents belonging to other people, but with her photographs on them.

In June, 1998, she placed an order with Home Choice for goods worth R3 191,99 under the name H.S.Z. Shabalala. In July of the same year, she visited the Department of Home Affairs claiming to be N.G. Rangane and applied for the reissue of her identity document. The following month she visited the same office for another ID reissue, this time as Rosemary Khan.

She then fradulently opened accounts at Hub and Edgars stores under the name of N.G. Rangane, using forged salary slips of four of her colleagues.

“We are dealing with a criminal in this one [case]. We will investigate why her salary was not suspended. People who are found to have had knowledge [of this], were negligent or colluded on this will face the music,” said Mahlambi.

He said Ngcobo’s supervisor should have informed the department that she was incacerated. “She is not working, why is she receiving a salary? It must have been suspended, and someone did not do his or her job properly here.”

“We will need to find out why she was not charged internally as she was found in possession of salary advices that belonged to others. We urge our employees to keep their salary advices in a safe place. She will have to reimburse the department all the money she has received,” said Mahlambi.

Ngcobo is serving her sentence.

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