Man who lied about engineering degree ordered to pay back more than R2m he earned at Umgeni Water | Jobs Vox


An employee who showed fake qualifications has been ordered to return the money earned by Umgeni Water.

An employee who showed fake qualifications has been ordered to return the money earned by Umgeni Water.

  • A former Umgeni Water employee has been ordered to pay back lakhs of rupees he earned after lying about his qualifications.
  • The person was employed in the graduate program since 2008. She resigned in 2016 after her qualifications were questioned.
  • When he first joined the program, Umgeni Water did not validate his qualifications.

A man who gave Umgeni Water a fake chemical engineering degree has been ordered to pay back 2.2 million rupees he earned while working there for eight years.

Umgeni Water dragged Sheldon Naidoo to the Pietermaritzburg High Court in a civil case, demanding that he return the money after his degree was found to be forged.

He said that if he had known that he did not have an engineering degree, he would not have hired Naidu in his graduate program in 2008.

The program was designed for, and was intended to be, graduates, it said.

When he applied to join the programme, Naidu had attached a copy of his degree certificate and academic results.

He resigned in November 2016 after being questioned about the validity of his qualification.

Naidu in his plea said that he had B.Sc. degree conferred on him by the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

He attached a degree certificate and an academic record in support of that contention.

The managing director of Umgeni Water and Naidoo’s former boss Peter Anthony Gray Thompson told the court that when Naidoo was appointed to the programme, they accepted his qualifications without objection and did not validate him.

However, in 2016 things were done differently and eligibility had to be verified.

That year, Naidu applied for a process technician position and his eligibility had to be verified for admission to the graduate program.

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But the university said that it does not have any record of B.Sc. Naidu is being awarded the degree of Chemical Engineering.

Thompson then recalled that Naidu had initially indicated that he had lost his academic results, but shortly thereafter said that he had found them, according to the judgement.

Initially saying that he had family photographs of his graduation ceremony, Naidu later said that he did not attend his graduation ceremony.

Furthermore, he indicated that he could not remember the names of any of the people with whom he worked in his project design group.

Thompson decided to contact the university and was told that Naidu did not have a degree awarded by the university.

Thompson said he is convinced a simple mistake was made.

However, after failing to prove that he had the degree, Naidu decided to resign. However, this was refused as he had a disciplinary hearing hanging over his head.

Nevertheless, a few days later, he submitted another resignation letter with immediate effect, citing ill health.

Another witness, Nonhlanhla Gladness Mofokeng, acting head of the university’s central student records, confirmed that Naidu’s degree certificate was not valid.

‘false witness’

Judge Rob Mossop said in his ruling that Naidu was an “ineffectual witness”.

“When it was put to him that he initially told Mr. Thompson that he had family snapshots of his graduation ceremony, but later said that he did not attend the ceremony, his response was that he remembered saying Not that they had snapshots of the family.

When asked why she had not given Mr. Thompson the names of the members of her design project, her initial answer was that she had not kept in touch with him.

“On the issue of his terminal illness, [Naidoo] It was too far to explain. He and his partner knew about it, but not a single member of his family was told about it. During cross-examination he was invited to disclose this in the court on several occasions but refused to do so. They didn’t call any medical expert to confirm it.”

The judge, after careful consideration, said he had no doubt that Naidu was a “false witness”.

“The documentary evidence produced by the plaintiff is cogent and overwhelming in its impact. Thus I must conclude that the degree certificate claimed by the first defendant is a forgery, as are the academic results relied upon by him.

“I acknowledge the academic results validated by Ms Mofokeng, and that are relied upon [Umgeni Water]as the true and correct history of [Naidoo’s] educational achievement.

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“He was thrown out of the Faculty of Engineering in 2004 and despite being given the opportunity to readmit again in 2006, he never resumed his academic studies at the university. Couldn’t earn the degree he spent at university (the degree is a four-year degree) before being kicked out.

“Consequently, I must conclude that the first respondent does not possess a University-awarded BSc Chemical Engineering degree,” ruled the judge, and ordered Naidu to repay R2 203 565.04 with interest.


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