SAQA and SAPS to work together to make sure that people who misrepresent their qualifications face the law. 

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) is proposing that the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) establish and maintain a register of people who misrepresent their qualifications.

The National Qualifications Framework Amendment Bill, which is currently before parliament, will enable SAQA to name and shame fraudsters who misrepresent their qualifications.

The Bill will empower universities and technical colleges to report fraudulent and misrepresented qualifications to SAQA who will in turn pursue cases of fraud with the South African Police Services (SAPS). A register of offenders will be administered online.

“Each year the number of people who apply for jobs using fraudulent qualifications is going up. This bill intends to end that. We are working tirelessly to make sure that those who misrepresent their qualifications face consequences,” said Eben Bishoff, the DHET chief director for legal services.

SAQA Chief Executive Officer, Joe Samuels, said that his organisation welcomes the new bill, adding that the authority recorded a total of 1 276 fake qualifications last year.

“SAQA is ready to administer the system for the country. We are the only organisation in this country that has the biggest data of qualifications. In the past eight years we have been the preferred organisation to verify qualifications and we have never experienced any scandal compared to private institutions,” he said.

Universities South Africa Chief executive officer, Professor Ahmed Bawa, said universities are willing to play an active role to make sure that people who commit this offence face the law.

“Fraud and misrepresentation of qualifications is a threat to the authenticity of qualifications which are offered by South African universities. There should be a heavy punishment for those who misrepresent their qualification and institutions that offer fraudulent qualifications,” Bawa said.

Various stakeholders made 48 submissions to parliament after the bill was published for public comment in November 2016.

FEATURED IMAGE: The number of people with fraudulent qualifications is increasing in South Africa. Photo: Takalani Sioga