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Atlantis Secondary School transport fraud – 17 in court include ex-governing body members

Atlantis Secondary School transport fraud – 17 in court include ex-governing body members
On Thursday, 9 March, Western Cape commercial crimes detectives arrested 17 people accused of stealing R2.2-million from a scholar transport grant at Atlantis Secondary School. (Photo: supplied by SAPS)

The financial mismanagement charges lined up against the group from the Western Cape school date back to 2007.

Seventeen people, including former school governing body members, made their first appearance in the Atlantis Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 10 March. Aged between 35 and 60, they face 24 charges related to defrauding Atlantis Secondary School of an estimated R2.2-million from a scholar transport grant.

Western Cape education department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond told GroundUp that in 2007, the department had asked the provincial Forensic Investigation Unit to look into suspected financial mismanagement at Atlantis Secondary School.

Hammond said the matter was reported to the South African Police Service, and “we are pleased that the Western Cape Commercial Crimes Investigations have acted in this regard”. She said eight of the 17 arrested were employed by the department, five were staff at the school and some of the others were former school governing body members.

They were all arrested on Thursday, 9 March, following lengthy investigations.

On Friday, 16 of the accused were released on R3,000 bail each, while one was released on a warning only.

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Provincial National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said 16 of the accused had been charged with 24 counts of fraud.

Read in Daily Maverick:High court slaps Codeta taxi firm with interdict barring interference with Khayelitsha school transport

Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said that the arrests followed months of “intricate investigative work into the unlawful expansion of the Western Cape education department’s learner transport grant”. Potelwa said Commercial Crimes Investigations detectives had executed 17 warrants of arrest in a “staggered fashion” in Paarl, Atlantis, Philadelphia and Wellington.

Police arrest a man suspected of defrauding Atlantis Secondary School and the education department. (Photo: Supplied by SAPS)

According to Ashley Poole, an Atlantis community activist, Atlantis Secondary School dismissed classes by noon on Friday “as staff left to support their arrested colleagues at court”.

“As the saying goes, ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Obviously, there will be an investigation and lifestyle audit,” he said.

The case was postponed to 24 April. DM

First published by GroundUp.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    What will be the consequences if they are found guilty,I see a lady got a suspended sentence for human trafficking, milnerton if I’m not mistaken,criminals have it to easy!!!

  • Johan Buys says:

    As bad as stealing school a slice of R2.2m of scholar transport money is : this case will cost many many multiples of the amount stolen.

    When will we see the people that stole BILLIONS in handcuffs?

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    R2.2m divided by 24 people is only about R195000 each – never going to change much for a lifestyle audit to be conclusive! I agree with the comment byMr Buys….how about convicting the real criminals who have stolen billions from the SA tax and rate payers? Starting off with the Zuptas!

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