After satisfying herself that Sandton Technical College was properly registered with the higher education and training department, Siphesihle Ndlovu enrolled for the national certificate in policing law.
Ndlovu was among a group of students who attended police law classes last week and agreed to speak to City Press, saying she came from Dannhauser in KwaZulu-Natal in January and found out about the college while walking around Johannesburg.
“I went in and asked for information. Afterwards I went to the education department to check if it was registered and it was,” she said, adding that she checked with the department to ensure that her parents would not lose their hard-earned cash paying for a bogus-college education.
She said she paid a R500 registration fee and signed an agreement with the college to pay R1 500 monthly for the two-year course.
Despite checking with the department, Ndlovu was not aware that higher education department investigators had discovered last month that Sandton Technical College was not authorised to offer this particular course.
She was puzzled and wanted to know why the higher education and training department had told her the college was registered but did not tell her that some of the courses were not accredited.
The department told City Press it was investigating trends in which private colleges offered additional courses for which they were not accredited.
These colleges often do so in partnership with a different institution which was properly accredited.
Authorities released a strongly worded statement this week warning colleges of the repercussions of breaking the law.
Questions were sent to the Sandton Technical College last week but it did not respond.
Higher education and training spokesperson Madikwe Mabotha said colleges found breaking the law would receive a warning letter.
“If they do not desist, we will refer them to the police and place them on the list of bogus colleges. Our authority to act is limited by the existing laws and legislation,” Mabotha said.
He said the Johannesburg City College in Braamfontein was an example of a college the department had filed a case against for offering unaccredited courses.
Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele confirmed that a case of fraud was opened against Johannesburg City College.
“The matter was taken to court for a decision,” Makhubele said.
Mabotha said although there was room to tighten up the law against bogus college managers, students should verify the authenticity of colleges, including their programmes, at the department.
Another resource students can use is the website Hello Peter, which often posts reviews about colleges.
Ndlovu deregistered at Sandton Technical College this week.