MPUMALANGA police have discovered a mini printing shop specialising in fraudulent academic certificates, including matric, university degrees and artisans, near Machadodorp.
The provincial organised crime unit followed a tip-off from the public and arrested man in Emthonjeni township for being in possession of a variety of certificates and printing equipment at his house on Tuesday.
Police investigations also revealed that 13 reserve police constables based at various stations possessed these fraudulent matric certificates.
Captain Leonard Hlathi of Mpumalanga said some the certificates were certified as "authentic matric certificates by police officials at various stations".
Hlathi said the discovery follows information police received recently alleging that the man "manufactured and sold various types of fraudulent certificates".
Hlathi said the police went to the house on Tuesday at about 6pm but the man locked himself inside the house when he spotted them.
"The police applied force to gain entry but after realising that police meant business the man opened the door and let them in."
Inside the hous, they found an upgraded Samsung Pentium 6 computer system, a printer, 206 written DVDs and CDs, a Nokia cellphone, two digital cameras, a hard drive capable of producing band cards and a pile of various program s from 2003 to 2009, among other items.
Among the certificates were degrees from various universities, matric, diplomas, artisans and Unitrans Driving Academy as well as boxes of various colours of printing papers "ready for manufacturing of other fraudulent certificates", Hlathi said.
He said the 13 reservists with fake certificates were discovered during follow-up investigations.
He said he was concerned that some of the police reservists were found with the certificates.
"Our officers know very well that you cannot certify a document without seeing the original.
"The officials who certified the fake certificates of the alleged corrupt reserve constables will be investigated too."
He said the discovery meant that all reserve constables who tried to enlist in the service using the fraudulent certificates had a bleak future because "we have no room for such people in the police service".
He urged anyone with information about people with fake certificates to call him on 082-462-0804.