The Limpopo couple and an accomplice who were arrested by the Hawks in connection with the running bogus FET colleges will have to stay in police custody for a while before the court decides whether to grant them bail.
The trio appeared in the Seshego Magistrate's Court on Thursday (17 January) and were watched by curious students from a public gallery.
Most of the youths had fallen victim to the trio's scam which allegedly involved paying tuition fees for unaccredited qualifications.
Magistrate LJ Mashitoa postponed the case against Hangwani Mukwevho, 57, his wife Onicca Mukwevho, 45, and accomplice Avhapfani Mululuma, 37, to 25 January when a formal bail application will be lodged.
The three were arrested by members of the specialised policing and investigative unit, the Hawks, after a probe revealed that they were operating bogus colleges.
Their Seshego FET College in Zone 7 and its branch at 75 Church Street in Polokwane were shut down by the Hawks on Monday (14 January) and the accused were charged with fraud.
According to police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, the investigations and the eventual arrests occurred after aggrieved students had gone to complain to senior provincial education department officials, asking them to ascertain if the college was registered.
Mulaudzi said, after establishing that the college was not registered, the department had alerted the police, who had launched an investigation. During the arrests, a total of R69,250 was found at the campuses, Mulaudzi said.
He said R54,700 was seized at the main campus in Seshego, while the balance of R14,550 was confiscated at the administrator's desk at the Polokwane campus. Computers, containing students' information and bank receipts indicating that students have paid and other registers were seized.
"We are appealing to all previous and current students of the college to report to their nearest police stations, to furnish us with information that will allow us to have a database of students who have been ripped off ," Mulaudzi said.
According to the head of the Hawks in Limpopo, Major-General Dibero Molatjana, preliminary investigations had revealed that students were being charged between R2,400 and R3,000 per course - depending on the course a student was enrolling for. To attract many unsuspecting students to their institution the trio ensured that the fees were lower than fees charged at the nearby and fully-accredited Capricorn FET College, .
At least 1000 students a year were enrolled at the Seshego campus, while about 200 were enrolled at the Polokwane branch, Molatjana said.
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