Fake teacher alert! Mpumalanga couple jailed for deception

Two bogus educators from Mpumalanga have been sentenced to time behind bars this week, after the married couple was found to have defrauded the Education Department. Hlobisile Lindokuhle Mthembu and Bongisipho Robert Mthembu both served as fake teachers, after lying about their qualifications to work in a school.

Mpumalanga couple busted as ‘fake teachers’

This case has roots all the way back to 2007. Some 14 years ago, their scam began in earnest. By 2010, Hlobisile Mthembu – who had already tricked a faculty into hiring her – then managed to get Bongisipho Mthembu into the school. They continued to teach here for another six years, before their bubble eventually burst.

The timeline of their deception was laid bare by SAPS earlier this week:

  • In 2007, Hlobisile submitted fraudulent qualifications for primary teacher’s post.
  • She then began a term of employment at Maphala Gulube Primary School.
  • Three years later, she recruited Robert who also submitted fraudulent qualifications and was employed at the same school.
  • Whistle-blowers reported the information to the department and an audit was conducted whereby teachers were required to submit original qualifications certificates – but the couple did not submit.
  • In November 2016, the investigation ensued and the fake teachers resigned.
  • Between them, the pair cost the Department of Education R1.1 million in fraudulent payments.

Qualifications scam cheats DoE out of cash

The million-rand fraud will condemn both parties to a stint in jail, before the rest of their punishment will be served as a suspended sentence. However, should either of them commit another act of fraud in the next six years, they’ll be sent right back to prison. For the Mthembus, their little ‘fake teacher’ experiment has ended in tears.

“The Mpumalanga couple, Hlobisile Lindokuhle Mthembu and Bongisipho Robert Mthembu were found guilty and sentenced by the Nelspruit Commercial Crime Court on Monday, 16 August 2021 for over a million rand fraud in terms of Section 18 (1) Act 121 of 1998 of POCA.”

“They were arrested both in August 2018 respectively accused were each sentenced to six years imprisonment wholly suspended for five years on condition that they are not found guilty of fraud during the period of suspension.”

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