2023 matriculants Beware of fly-by-night schools

Written by on January 22, 2024

Written by: Tasha Siziba


Education is crucial for gaining opportunities, but phony universities, fraudulent credentials, and Umalusi certificate scams pose a hazardous shadow during the excitement of the new school year.

During this time of year, fly-by-night schools emerge, fuelled by the high demand among school dropouts seeking post-matriculation education at higher learning institutions.

These unregistered bogus colleges operate under false pretence, by far South Africa has at least 90 listed bogus colleges

Umalusi CEO Mafu Rakometsi revealed that police have arrested at least 11 individuals for their involvement in the buying and selling of fake matric certificates

In addition, a higher education and training department official is accused of wrongdoing by exchanging a diploma for money.

According to Sibongiseni Delihlazo, a spokesman for the Democratic Nursing Organization of South Africa (DENOSA), people who search for nursing programs to become nurses frequently come across these fake universities, where they must pay fees to enrol in and be accepted into the available courses.

He says due to the shortage of nurses that the country experiences, many nursing students will be seeking study opportunities at various institutions, requiring increased vigilance against potential bogus colleges.

Every institution of higher learning that offers legitimate nursing studies must, by law, be registered and accredited by the South African Nursing Council (SANC), which is the country’s regulatory body for nursing.

The SANC lists accredited nursing schools, colleges, and universities, requiring students to visit their website http://www.sanc.co.za/ to check if their desired institution is listed.

Dr. Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, has urged students to avoid falling for fraudulent colleges when registering for higher education courses.

The Minister has warned that these institutions provide qualifications that are not recognized.

“These institutions lure and mislead future students into believing that these colleges offer qualifications that are recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). These illegal colleges offer compromised qualifications that are not recognised for employment purposes or for further studying,” he said.

Check registration status

Nzimande stated that the department will be working with law enforcement agencies to ensure the closure of these colleges.

In order to enroll in a private college, he encouraged students to either directly contact the relevant SETA or SAQA, or to confirm the registration status of the private college with the department.

“Alternatively, students can log on to the website of the department where the ‘Register of Private Colleges’ is published and updated on a regular basis.

“The website address is www.dhet.gov.za/resources/registers.”

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