People who lie about qualifications to be named and shamed

0000104989CAPE TOWN – People who lie about their academic qualifications are set to be named and shamed if Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has his way.

Briefing journalists in Cape Town on Tuesday, Nzimande said amendments would be made to the National Qualifications Framework to make room for a register of persons found to have “misrepresented their qualifications”. This register would also contain the details of institutions issuing unregistered qualifications.

“This is a very serious matter in so far as it can also discredit our entire higher education system so what we going to be embarking on…the main thing we are going to do is to amend the legislation so that we create a register of people and institutions with such forged or misrepresented qualifications,” he said.

“A simple way of putting it is a name and shame list.”

Nzimande said he will also be engaging with institutions in the criminal justice sector to ensure those who fake their qualifications face harsher sanctions.

“Are we asking for tougher sanctions? Yes. In any case, if you lie about your qualifications or you produce a false certificate, it is fraud already in terms of the existing law,” said the minister.

“The problem that we normally have is people take this so lightly they don’t report it. Sometimes it gets reported, [but] it’s taken as a very minor or inconsequential offence, so yes we want to be taken seriously by society as a whole so that those that are aware of people with false qualifications, or lying, or institutions that are not registered should report this matter either to the department or to the police.”

Nzimande said he was worried about an increase in incidents of people lying about their qualifications when applying for jobs, specifically because it could impact the standing of South African institutions of higher learning.

“We have to stamp this out for the sake of our credibility of our qualifications as a country.”

In December 2014, former SABC chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala was forced to resign from her post after she failed to provide a parliamentary committee with evidence she had held two qualifications from the University of South Africa.

Earlier that year, ANC MP Pallo Jordan willingly resigned from Parliament after admitting he had lied about having a PhD.

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