A stern warning has been issued to Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres to be aware of con artists posing as representatives of the National Development Agency (NDA) and the Department of Social Development (DSD).The NDA has confirmed this scheme, in which admits to this scheme being brought to their attention whereunsuspecting centres are urged to pay deposits to receive mobile learning classrooms sponsored by the NDA. According to Makgodu Tsehloane of the NDA, most of the reported cases took place in the Free State, but there are unrecorded incidents in other provinces. “The NDA would like to put on record that there are no mobile learning classrooms that have been allocated, nor will they be distributed by a certain Mr Dlamini who claims to be a director at the DSD. “This Mr Dlamini informs ECD centres that, based on a database provided by the NDA, he is travelling from KwaZulu-Natal to deliver the classrooms,” Tsehloane said in a media statement.“He claims to require the ECD to pay R2 000 for tollgates. “After receiving the money, he does not deliver. It is unfortunate that there is a person who would use the plight of ECD centres, that desperately need infrastructure, to his advantage.”Thamo Mzobe, CEO of the NDA, said the NDA supports ECD centres through various interventions, but that they will always be communicated through official documents. “At no point will an NDA official make verbal undertakings that cannot be accounted for or documented. I plead with ECD centres to be cautious and to verify the identity of those who approach them. “We will follow up with those affected by the scam and are seeking legal advice,” Mzobe said. According to the NDA, they will be approaching the law enforcement agencies to ensure that this con artist is brought to book. Centres that have been scammed are encouraged to approach their local police stations and make contact with their nearest NDA office. Verifications of NDA staff can be made by dialling 011-018-5500, and fraudulent activities can be reported on 0800-701-701. Appeal is made to all ECD centres in the country to be aware of this fraudulent scam.