Durban - Two Durban businessmen have been arrested after they were allegedly found with three fraudulent matric certificates in the city, just days before the release of the matric results.
Durban Central police pounced on the pair at their internet café in Mahatma Gandhi (Point) Road on Monday after they received information that the suspects were printing and selling fake matric certificates.
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane said the men, aged 42 and 52, allegedly sold the certificates for R1 700 and R2 000 each.
Onlookers gathered along the busy road as police seized 13 computers allegedly used to create and print the certificates. The cellphones and identity documents of the suspects were also confiscated.
The men, who run a small computer and cellphone repair shop and internet café were arrested after a sting by the Durban Central Crime Intelligence and Crime Prevention units.
They were due to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court this week, said Zwane.
KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education spokesman, Muzi Mahlambi, praised the police. “When we say the arm of the law is long, we are not joking.”
He said the department was working with police to bring to book not only those who produce fraudulent matric certificates but those who buy them as well.
He said not only would buyers be arrested and charged for committing this crime but they would also be suspended from obtaining the qualification. “People cannot say they have not been warned to steer clear of this crime.”
Mahlambi said they were anticipating many more arrests as the department had had people posing as buyers and sellers to root out this corruption.
On the face of it, the three certificates, two pre-2008 Senior Certificates and one Umalusi National Senior Certificate, look authentic.
Police Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, described the fake certificates as worrying, adding that police would be targeting syndicates responsible for producing them.
In April new security measures were added to the school-leaving certificates in a bid to curb fraud, counterfeiting and the sale of fake certificates.
Among the new features is a watermark that can be seen when the certificate is held up to light and the word Umalusi is printed in the border, visible under a magnifying glass.
There is also a certificate sequence number, starting in a small font size and becoming larger.