The Hawks arrested six paramedics in the Eastern Cape on Monday on charges including fraud and forgery linked to their matric certificates, News24 reports.

The suspects, who worked for Joe Gqabi Emergency Medical Services, appeared in the Zwelitsha Magistrate's Court on Tuesday and were released on R5 000 bail each.

The case was remanded to 11 September and transferred to the East London Magistrate's Court for trial arrangement.

The accused originally responded to a recruitment advert in 2014 when the Eastern Cape Health Department was on a drive to fill 730 vacant positions across all districts in the province.

The requirements for a position included having a Grade 12 certificate or equivalent qualification.

Having started work in April 2015, the emplyees were asked to submit their original certificates in March last year when the department began an exercise to verify qualifications.

When irregularities were found, the matter was referred to the Hawks for further investigation.

Five of the accused are still employed by the department, with the sixth suspect having resigned in 2022.

Eastern Cape Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth said the department will cooperate with any investigation that strengthens the services in that province.

Full News24 report