Woman without matric, accused of fraudulently earning R1.2 million working as a teacher, back in court

The Hawks said Ntombelanga Pretty Labane who has been working as a teacher since 2016 wrote matric four times — in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, and in all her four attempts, she failed. Picture: Supplied/Hawks

The Hawks said Ntombelanga Pretty Labane who has been working as a teacher since 2016 wrote matric four times — in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, and in all her four attempts, she failed. Picture: Supplied/Hawks

Published Jun 13, 2024


Forty-year-old Mpumalanga woman, Ntombelanga Pretty Labane, will on Thursday return to the Amersfoort Magistrate’s Court after she was arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also known as the Hawks.

Provincial Hawks spokesperson, Captain Dineo Sekgotodi, said Labane was apprehended by members of the Secunda-based serious commercial crimes investigation unit on charges of fraud.

It is alleged that on September 1, 2016, Labane applied for a business and accounting teacher’s post at Hlelimfundo Secondary School in Amersfoort, under Mpumalanga’s Volksrust circuit.

“Labane submitted a CV, copies of a fraudulent matric certificate, a B-ED degree, and SACE (SA Council for Educators) certificates to the school principal, who informed the school management team to consider her application. They then agreed that she is suitable for the post,” said Sekgotodi.

The principal informed the School Governing Body (SGB) about the decision taken by the school management team and the SGB supported the decision.

“The management team allowed Labane to apply for the post, and she was given an application document called EDU 1 to apply for the post. SGB members and the principal signed the application forms on September 12, 2016,” said Sekgotodi.

“All relevant documents were sent to the circuit manager who signed and took them to the department of education’s district office at Ermelo,” she said.

“The application was sent to the Human Resource Persal registry section, and it was forwarded to the human resource provisioning section. After the human resource provisioning section checked it, it was forwarded to the employment section where it was captured and Labane was employed.”

Trouble started for Labane when a whistle-blower who knew that the woman did not pass matric reported the matter to the Public Service Commission offices in Mpumalanga.

The matter was then investigated by the Public Service Commission.

“After the investigations, findings and recommendations were made,” said Sekgotodi.

“The principal, circuit manager and the district office were asked about a fraudulent matric certificate and they reported that they did not notice that it was fraudulent as they do not have detectors to verify the validity of the documents,” she said.

“The Public Service Commission referred the matter to the Hawks Secunda-based serious commercial crime investigation (unit) for further investigation in July 2022.”

The Hawks spokesperson clarified to IOL that Labane is not in custody, as no warrant of arrest had been issued against her.

Hawks investigations established that Ntombelanga Pretty Labane did not have matric even though she was working as a teacher. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

During further investigations by the Hawks team, it was discovered that Labane does not have Grade 12 certificate, and that she wrote matric four times — in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006.

In all her four attempts, the Hawks said Labane failed matric.

“Labane then forged the matric certificate by putting the certificate number: 040 9517 7028 B which belong to another candidate called Nozipho Ritta Ngema. The results that were appearing on her fraudulent matric certificate were not her real results,” according to the Hawks.

Labane took her fraudulent matric certificate and applied to study at Walter Sisulu University where she obtained her Bachelor of Education (B-ED) degree.

“She also applied for a SACE certificate with that fraudulent matric certificate. She also (used the documents) when she applied for the educator’s post at Hlelimfundo Secondary School,” said Sekgotodi.

Hawks’ spokesperson in Mpumalanga, Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi. File Picture: Supplied

During the investigations, it was also discovered that from September 2016, Labane had prejudiced and caused an actual and potential loss amount of R1,292,382 to the Department of Education. Labane earned the money as salary during her time of employment.

“During the discovery, Labane abandoned the job and disappeared. Investigation was finalised, and the court issued a J175 (summons) on April 16, 2024 against Labane to appear in court. She was traced, arrested, and appeared before the Amersfoort Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, May 16, 2024,” said Sekgotodi.

When Labane appeared in court last month, the case was postponed to June 13 for further investigations.