Qualification crackdown gains momentum

fake degPretoria – The government’s crackdown on fake qualifications is gaining momentum, with Parliament now adopting a similar tough stance on people appointed to senior positions.

This week, the portfolio committee on public service and administration, which oversees the department that controls the payroll of 1.2 million public servants, took a hard line on proper qualifications for people employed across the country.

The tough stance followed a string of revelations last year about senior officials with fraudulent qualifications.

First to bite the dust was former SABC chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala, who was discovered to have lied about having a BCom from Unisa. Former ambassador to Japan Mohau Pheko was also found to have lied about her PhD.

SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng is known to have no matric, but he has boasted of running a R5 billion company.

The latest to face a probe is Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) chief engineer Daniel Mthimkhulu.

Prasa launched an investigation last week after it emerged that Mthimkhulu did not have an engineering degree from Wits as he claimed and was not registered with the Engineering Council of SA.

During interviews of candidates for a top position in the Public Service Commission this week, the committee made it clear to all candidates that their qualifications would be checked.

Chairperson of the portfolio committee Peace Mabe said: “After a decision is taken (on the preferred candidate), we will conduct verification of the qualifications.”

This would be done to prevent candidates being embarrassed once they had been found to not have the qualifications they claimed to have. The public service employed people working in departments and state-owned entities.

Board members of agencies and entities would also be subjected to verification tests to determine if they were in possession of the qualifications listed on their CVs.

Parliament is an institution empowered to make key appointments of board members and heads of entities.

On the other hand, the cabinet appoints directors-general, their deputies and chief directors of departments and other senior appointments of SOEs.

Among those appointed by Parliament include members of the SABC board, the Independent Communications Authority of SA and the Media Development and Diversity Agency.

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