Bill to root out fake degrees in candidates

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The government is cracking down on fake qualifications with Parliament pushing through a bill that will expose these fraudsters.
One measure to dissuade those with dodgy qualifications from applying for jobs is a name and shame list, to be published by the government.

MPs said yesterday they were concerned with the increasing number of job applicants with fake qualifications.

The Department of Higher Education and Training said it needed to jack up its systems to prevent the spread of this.

It said the bill will force the government and state-owned entities to verify the qualifications of their workers, including those serving on the boards of state-owned entities.

Former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng was found by then public protector, Thuli Madonsela, not to have a matric certificate.

South Africa’s former ambassador to Japan Mohau Pheko was also found to have a fake Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Pallo Jordan, the former Cabinet minister, also never had a PhD degree and the US university showed that he did not qualify for any degree.

Chief director for legal at the Department of Higher Education advocate Eben Boshoff said the National Qualifications Framework Bill would ensure a clampdown on fake degrees in the country.

The bill makes it compulsory for employers, including the government and private companies, to report people with fake qualifications.

“The SA Qualifications Authority must develop and publish a register for fraudulent and misrepresented qualifications,” said Boshoff.

“It is the legal duty to report misrepresented qualifications by educational institutions, providers and employers,” he said.

The ANC’s Juli Kilian said it was a step in the right direction to tighten up the law to prevent this type of fraud.

She said there’s been an increase in the number of fake qualifications over the years.

The authorities must guard against those with fake qualifications, because it was an injustice to those with hard-earned proper qualifications from universities.

Belinda Bozzoli of the DA welcomed the new measures.

However, she was concerned that institutions did not have the capacity to take all the people with fake qualifications to court.

Bozzoli said it would be appropriate for a statutory body to take up cases of those found to have fake degrees.

Shirley Lloyd, the director for the National Qualifications Framework Directorate in the Department of Higher Education and Training, said when the bill was mooted, it was envisaged that it would cover all three spheres of the government and the SOEs, to root out fake qualifications.

Lloyd pointed out that the bill would make it possible to name and shame people with fake qualifications.

“If you are an employer and somebody presents a fraudulent qualification, you have an obligation to report it,” she said.

This article was first published on iol.co.za