No mercy on criminals who operate illegal colleges – warns Minister Mthethwa
12 Jan 2011
Parents and students urged to be more vigilant during this enrolment period.
The Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa today sent a stern warning to criminals who masquerade as principals and directors of illegally-registered colleges – that police will be tougher, ensure they are apprehended and that they receive harshest punishments.
“We are in that season where some criminals would want to prey on unsuspecting students by promising them a brighter future when in fact they are destroying their lives. As government we shall not allow this to happen and I have accordingly tasked the police to double their efforts in uncovering these scoundrels,” stated Minister Mthethwa.
Police operations to uncover illegally-registered colleges began in May last year, mainly concentrated around Gauteng, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal and scores of unregistered Private Further Education and Training (FET) colleges were shut down. In the latest operation, police visited 80 private FET colleges around KwaZulu-Natal. Out of them only 12 were found to be correctly registered with the Department of Higher Education.
Six of them have been closed down and their directors or owners arrested; these are Speciss College, Elite College, NIIT Quality Computer Education, Tshwane Institute of Technology, Arison College as well as Umbilo Skills Training Centre.
To date 48 suspects, including amongst others South African, Nigerian, Congolese and Zimbabwean nationals were arrested countrywide. “What was even more significant is that the majority of those arrested were denied bail. We are confident that even this year, as we work closer with our Justice and Constitutional Development and National Prosecuting Authority counterparts those we arrest will not get bail instead receive the harshest sentences,” added the Minister.
During the seizures, police confiscated various fraudulent certificates, computers, fax machines and exam results of various students. After the students ‘passed’ their exams they were issued with false certificates which are not recognised by the Department of Higher Education. Once arrested the suspects are charged for 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).
Any person found guilty of contravening this act faces 10 years imprisonment or can be fined two hundred and fifty thousand rand (R250 000,00) or both. Some of the illegally-registered colleges which were publicly named and shamed by this ministry last year included: Immaculate College of Commerce and Engineering (Johannesburg), Central College of Business and Computer Studies (Pretoria), Victory Training College (Pretoria), Springfield FET College (Pretoria), Shepperd Academy (Pretoria), Westridge College (Johannesburg), Cedar Academy Technical College (Boksburg), Alcinof Resources Management Private FET College (Pretoria), Academy of Business and Computer Studies (Pretoria), Korema
College (Pretoria), Churchill Resources College (Pretoria), Skill Development Pioneer T/A Professional and Technical College (Venda), Nicoflora Computer’s & PC Engineering (Venda), Thulamela Computer Academy (Venda), Mass Computer Training (Venda), Limpopo Media College (Venda) as well as Kensani Education Training (Venda).
Minister Mthethwa vowed during the festive season that only law-abiding citizens shall have a safe festive period and that law-breaking criminals will be severely dealt with, and this was fulfilled as witnessed throughout the country.“The kind of policing approach that South Africans witnessed during the past festive season and currently, we shall implement the same vigour, toughness and smartness in thwarting these bogus colleges,” he concluded.
The police operations in exposing these bogus colleges have no time frames; they will be ongoing throughout the year. Police will therefore, sporadically, visit private schools around the country to verify their status. Parents and students are urged to contact the Department of Higher Education when suspicious about a particular college’s legitimacy; also to report to the nearest police station where they suspect they have been financially defrauded.
Cell: 082 045 4024
Issued by: South African Police Service
12 Jan 2011
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