According to a recently released report from background screening company, Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE), the number of misrepresented qualifications in South Africa has increased from 44 880 in 2016, to 50 618 in 2017.

The seventh edition of MIE’s annual BSI Report is based on data from the company’s vetting services conducted between 1 January and 31 December 2017. During this time, MIE completed over 2,87 million transactions.

Now the country’s legislators are cracking down as Parliament’s Committee on Higher Education and Training has adopted the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Bill.

The bill introduces a “register” of fraudulent qualifications that will contain the names and details of individuals and providers who have been found by a court of law to be holding or issuing at least one fraudulent qualification.

According to the bill, “a fraudulent qualification or part-qualification” includes a degree, diploma or certificate that is forged, fraudulently obtained or awarded in contravention of this Act, and has been declared as such by a court of law.

“The bill empowers the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to establish and maintain separate registers for professional designations, misrepresented qualifications and part-qualifications, and fraudulent qualifications,” said the committee’s Acting Chairperson, Charles Kekana, adding that: “The SAQA is also empowered to evaluate foreign qualifications or part-qualifications and publish criteria for evaluating foreign qualifications or part-qualifications.”

If, after verification or evaluation, a qualification is found to be a misrepresented one, SAQA must refer the finding or information to the relevant professional body.

In addition to being included on this register, the Bill states that any person who fraudulently claims to have received a qualification is guilty of an offence, and is liable on conviction to any sentence that may be imposed for an offence of fraud.

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The MIE report determined that these aspects of CVs were the most frequently misrepresented or incorrect:

  • Skills
  • Job titles
  • Responsibilities
  • Period of employment
  • Reason for leaving
  • Employment history