FIVE bogus colleges have been closed down in Gauteng and police have arrested their directors.

FIVE bogus colleges have been closed down in Gauteng and police have arrested their directors.

Police conducted the operation on Friday to verify the registration status of the colleges.

"Police visited five institutions in Pretoria and discovered that only one of them was registered according to the Department of Higher Education database," said Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa in a statement.

He said illegal institutions have a detrimental effect on South Africa's education system.

"But more importantly we view such practices as pure criminality. Such acts are unconstitutional and tantamount to thuggery and law enforcement agencies will be tough on these scoundrels, who are driven by greed," said Mthethwa.

The four institutions and its directors are: Victory Training College headed by HM Mukasa, who is a Ugandan national; Shepperd Academy, headed by LE Dolo, a South African citizen, Health Academy Institution, headed by D Nxumalo also a South African and Central College of Business and Computer Studies, headed by I Anye, who is a Zimbabwean national.

In Johannesburg, police arrested a F Thuri, a Nigerian national who owns Witwatersrand College of Commerce. He also owns 28 other schools in South Africa.

Mthethwa said police investigations have revealed that each student pays about R8400 a year in fees.

Police have also discovered certificates, computers, fax machines and exam results for students.

"After the students 'passed' their exams they were issued with certificates which are not recognised by the Department of Higher Education," said Mthethwa.

He called on parents to be more cautious when enrolling their children at tertiary institutions.

"It is incumbent upon any parent or guardian to ensure that they obtain prior proper information on any institution, more especially by verifying with the Department of Education when in doubt," Mthethwa said.

Her spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said police would continue to visit all the private schools in the country to verify their status.