Ghost students created to defraud university bursary system

Six suspects appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria on Monday after allegedly manipulating a bursary system at the University of South Africa (Unisa) by creating ghost students.

According to the Hawks, a Unisa payroll administrator, Thandie Esbie, created ghost students and defrauded the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), under the administration of the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF), to the tune of R1.7-million.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu said the syndicate has been operating with this modus operandi for the last two years.

Group executive of corporate relations at the NRF, Dr Beverley Damonse, said one of the accused had been an employee at the research foundation, and allegedly defrauded the foundation by creating ghost workers at the SAAST.

This was uncovered by the SAAST after a forensic audit and the matter was handed over the Hawks.


The accused then resigned.

Damonse said she did not know if the accused then started working for Unisa.

“On Friday last week the Hawks team paid a visit to the university’s main campus in Pretoria and arrested Esbie whilst the other five syndicate members were picked up at their respective homes in and around Pretoria,” said Mulamu.

“The six spent the weekend behind bars and on Monday during their court appearance, they were granted bail.”

Esbie was granted R3 000 bail while Florence Skhosana, Thembi Ndlovu, Matilda Mmotlana, Joy Skhosana and Clifford Banda were granted R2 000 bail respectively.

Gauteng Hawks head, Major General Prince Mokotedi, commended the investigation team and declared that the Hawks will stand firm in fighting corporate corruption.

He said the public also have a responsibility to act against any corrupt activities, and urged people to report any unlawful conduct to law enforcement authorities.

The matter has been postponed to May 16 for further investigation. – News24

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Alex Mitchley
Alex Mitchley
South African Journalist at News24
Advertising

ANC wants pension funds to finance infrastructure build

The party released its plan for the reconstruction of the country’s post-coronavirus economy on Friday. This would involve changes to Regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act

The case against Floyd Shivambu

The flow of money from VBS Bank would seem to suggest that the EFF’s second-in-command was an ultimate beneficiary of proceeds of a crime

Cabinet reshuffle rumours: Unlikely to happen any time soon, but…

Persistent rumours of a cabinet reshuffle may be jumping the gun, but they do reflect the political realignment taking place within the ANC

Nigeria’s anti-corruption boss arrested for corruption

Ibrahim Magu’s arrest by the secret police was a surprise — but also not surprising
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday