Bogus teacher costs Department of Education over R1 million

In a recent development, Ntombelanga Pretty Labane, 40, a bogus teacher, appeared before the Amersfoort Magistrate Court on Thursday, 16 May, after being arrested by the Hawks Secunda-based Serious Commercial Crime Investigation unit on charges of document fraud, costing the Department of Education over R1 million.

Labane’s legal troubles stem from allegations dating back to 1 September 2016, when she applied for a business and accounting teacher’s position at Hlelimfundo Secondary School in Amersfoort, operating under the Volksrust circuit.

Bogus teacher submits fake documents to principal

Subsequently, she submitted what was later discovered to be falsified documents, including a Matric certificate, a B-ED degree, and SACE certificates, alongside her CV to the school principal.

Upon review by the school management team, Labane’s application was deemed suitable, leading to the endorsement of her candidacy by both the principal and the School Governing Body (SGB).

Labane was granted permission to proceed with her application, completing the necessary paperwork. This documentation, including the fraudulent certificates, made its way through the educational bureaucracy, ultimately resulting in Labane’s employment as a teacher.

Whistleblower alerted authorities

However, Labane’s purported qualifications came under scrutiny when a whistleblower alerted authorities to the fraudulent nature of her documents. The matter was subsequently referred to the Hawks Secunda based Serious Commercial Crime Investigation unit for further examination in July 2022.

Upon investigation, it was revealed that Labane did not possess a legitimate Grade 12 certificate. In fact, she had unsuccessfully attempted to pass matric on four occasions between 2003 and 2006.

To secure her position as a teacher, Labane had forged her matric certificate using the details of another individual, Nozipho Ritta Ngema. This falsified document enabled Labane to gain admission to Walter Sisulu University, obtain her B-ED degree, and apply for an SACE certificate, all under false pretenses.

Bogus teacher fraudulent employment resulted in substantial financial loss of R1 million to the Department of Education

The consequences of Labane’s actions were not limited to the educational realm. Her fraudulent employment resulted in a substantial financial loss of R1 292 382.11 to the Department of Education from September 2016 onwards.

Labane’s evasion of accountability came to an end when a J175 was issued against her on 16 April, prompting her arrest and subsequent appearance before the Amersfoort Magistrate Court. The case has been adjourned to 13 June, for further investigation.

In response to these developments, Major General Gerber, the Provincial Head of the Hawks, commended the investigative team for their efforts in uncovering the truth behind Labane’s fraudulent qualifications.
“The General suggests and advises departments to put measures in place to verify qualification and employment records and only once verified employ compotent applicants,” he concluded.