Seventeen people, who include two principals, teachers and security guards, were arrested at two alleged bogus schools in Gauteng on Thursday.
The schools’ leadership was given 48-hours by the provincial education department to sort out its issues, while the learners will have to be placed at different schools.
This followed an operation conducted by the Gauteng education department and police to crackdown on schools that were allegedly operating without being registered with the department.
Both schools have various campuses in and around Ivory Park.
Authorities, led by Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, descended on Wisdom English Private School and True Grace Christian Combined School and demanded registration documentation from teachers and staff, with police arresting those who could not verify their immigration status.
Last month, City Press reported that Wisdom English Private School had claimed from the unemployment insurance fund’s Covid-19 coronavirus temporary employer-employee relief scheme, despite not being registered.
Ivory Park police spokesperson Captain Ben Matimulane, said the suspects were arrested for various allegations of violating aspects of the Immigration Act and security guards were not registered with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority – which is tasked with a mandate to regulate the private security industry and to exercise effective control over the practice of the occupation of security service provider in the public, private and national interest.
Those arrested are expected to appear at the Tembisa Magistrates’ Court on Friday, while those able to verify their documents at the police station would be released, the police said.
During the visit at Wisdom English Private School, Lesufi expressed his dissatisfaction to school staff about the infrastructure and conditions at the school.
Drama unfolded when a school’s administrator, Lazarus Mabotja, attempted to defend the school to Lesufi by indicating that the joint operation had created “chaos” at the school when teachers had to leave classes to verify their documents with police.
Lesufi said the school had created the chaos because of alleged “forged documents”.
“You’re the last person to talk about chaos … there are some of the documents that you’ve forged and submitted to the municipality. Children are not in an environment that is conducive for learning … is this the future of the black child. You’ve just thrown [their future] away because they can’t get a report. Their academic credentials are unknown. After they’ve passed Grade 10 you don’t know where they are going. They don’t have proper documents to prove that they’ve studied or what they’ve studied and that they are going to a school that is illegal.”
However, Mabotja denied that he submitted fraudulent documents, at which point Lesufi did not hold back.
“There are a lot of documents that are fraudulent from what you’ve submitted for us to recognise your school, I can tell you that. The reason why your school is not registered is because you have given us fraudulent documents,” Lesufi seethed.
The department said that a process was going to be effected to ensure that all documents submitted by the implicated schools have its authenticity verified and this will include the qualifications of teachers.