A primary school clerk who stole R170000 from her employer and spent some of it on her son’s medical bills and daily family expenses, has now paid it back.
This was after the East London Regional Court ordered that former Southernwood Primary School clerk Amelia van der Schyff pay back the money within 30 days or risk going to jail for five years.
The order by magistrate Deon Rossouw was made on March 17.
Van der Schyff’s attorney Henry van Breda told the Saturday Dispatch the money was paid in full “within seven days of the order made. Unfortunately I cannot tell you where she got the money from,” Van Breda said.
The 39-year-old Vincent Heights resident pleaded guilty last month to stealing the R170000 in school funds over a period of three years.
The state, however, charged her with theft totaling R536000, after these funds disappeared under her watch between 2011 and 2013.
She claimed in court papers that she had repaid R68000 to the school although no proof was submitted to court.
Rossouw sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment for theft.
While the prison sentence was suspended for five years, Van der Schyff was sentenced to three years of house arrest and 18 months of community service at the Cambridge Police Station. Van der Schyff did not take to the stand to testify.
She submitted an affidavit in which she admitted stealing the funds when she found herself “in an extremely difficult financial position”.
The money was in the form of cash paid over to the school as school fees by parents.
She said she had confessed her crimes to the then-school principal Michael Cockott, who instead of disciplining her, promoted her and increased her salary to repay back the money she had stolen.
Former chairman of the school governing body Mpo Mosia confirmed yesterday Van der Schyff had paid back the money.
“It is true she paid the money during the first quarter. It is less than what we wanted her to pay back, but at least we got something back and she was exposed for what she did.” – Zwanga Mukhuthu reporting for Saturday Dispatch