The Limpopo education department has urged matriculants to ensure the institutions where they wanted to study were registered, to avoid being swindled.
Students could call the department's toll-free number 0800-265-266 to make sure the institution was recognised and registered, spokesperson Phuthi Seloba said on Sunday.
"We are available as the department to ensure that our learners register with proper training institutions."
He appealed to students to consult with the department before they made any payments.
Seloba said the department was ready to start schooling and that stationery and books had been delivered.
Limpopo provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Fanie Masemola said the police and educational officials would have special investigative teams to close bogus institutions.
Police had noticed a mushrooming of FET colleges in the province. He said it was the time of year where some criminals tried to prey on unsuspecting students.
"As government we want to ensure that those who pretend to be running registered colleges are apprehended and receive harshest punishments."
Anyone found guilty of running an unregistered institution could face 10 years' imprisonment, be fined R250 000, or both. – Sapa