Mhlontlo back under spotlight for matric fraud

Mhlontlo municipality is under the spotlight again – this time an e-Natis clerk is being investigated for fraud after he reportedly falsified a matric certificate.

Zola Mhlotshazana allegedly submitted a matric certificate belonging to someone else when he applied for the job two years ago.

Mhlotshazana is the second person being investigated for fraud in Mhlontlo.

The Daily Dispatch reported that former council speaker and ANC regional chairman Xolile Nkompela was being investigated for allegedly using a fraudulent teacher’s diploma when he applied for a job as a teacher some years ago.

Police have confirmed they are investigating a case of fraud against Mhlotshazana and the latest case puts into question the small council’s ability to verify applicants’ qualifications before making appointments.

SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) in Qumbu initially rang the alarm in 2014 when they asked Mhlontlo municipality’s corporate services director Lizo Matiwane to look into Mhlotshazana’s matric certificate.

In documents seen by the Dispatch, Umalusi senior certificate officer Zolile Hlabeni confirmed in an affidavit that Mhlotshazana did not have an authentic matric certificate.

“The copy of the certificate as submitted for verification is not authentic. The information on the Umalusi database indicates that the certificate belongs to somebody else.

“ no records found on the Malusi database for Zola Mhlotshazana,” he swore under oath on February 23 this year.

He declared the certificate which Mhlotshazana claimed was his, was in fact that of Siyabonga Artwell Mdingi which was effective from December 2000.

Hlabeni had verified the certificate using the unique certificate’s number qualification after investigating officer Constable Bandise Lokhwe made the request in May last year.

Mthatha police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Dineo Koena said the case was handed over to the organised crime unit last month.

Mhlotshazana declined to comment, citing that the matter was with the police.

Despite Matiwane promising then Samwu secretary Atalanta Tiba on May 21 2014 that “the matter is being attended to”, more than two years later, no action was ever taken against Mhlotshazana.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Matiwane referred questions to municipal manager Sibongile Sotshongaye.

The accounting officer said that unlike when police informed him of the probe against Nkompela, that had not happened in the Mhlotshazana case. “No one has ever come to me with the allegations.

“Procedurally, the municipal manager should have done an internal investigation but because this has just been hearsay, we could not do anything.

“The police came to the municipal manager regarding the speaker and told me they were investigating him.

“This has never taken that route,” he said. — ndamasem@dispatch.co.za

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