Fraudulent qualifications in South Africa – from matric certificates to MBAs


Fraudulent qualifications are a problem in South Africa, with candidates applying for jobs using fake matric certificates and degrees on the rise.

Fraudulent certificates, diplomas, and degrees are a problem in South Africa, with more candidates trying to secure jobs using fake qualifications.

EMPS, a company which provides background screening services, said it has found that 7.62% of all qualifications verified by it in 2015 were “problematic” – compared to 6.8% in 2014.

“People using fake qualifications are damaging the credibility and reputation of institutions of higher learning. The incidents of misrepresentation are serious and will not be tolerated in our country,” said EMPS CEO Kirsten Halcrow.

Halcrow said the government needed to concentrate on weeding out those within its ranks using fake degree and certificates, and not let qualifications fraudsters continue in their positions.

She said private companies, too, needed to beware of applicants using fake qualifications.

“Apart from being unable to do the job they were hired for, they could also do severe damage to the reputation of a company.”

Recent examples in South Africa

The table below details recent incidents of qualification fraud dealt with by EMPS in SA.

Company Position applied for Fraud type Demographic Age
Private company Executive Diploma mill certificate, MBA Male – Foreigner N/A
Government institution Mid-level Unisa certificates Female – RSA 25
Private company Mid-level Matric certificate Female – Foreigner 25
Private company Mid-level BCom degree Male – RSA 32
Government department Senior level National certificate Male – RSA 49
Government institution Senior level Matric certificate Male – RSA 44

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