Academic qualifications fraudsters will face consequences with new bill

Department of Higher Education on Thursday briefed the higher education oversight committee on the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Bill.

FILE: Parliament of South Africa in Cape Town. Picture: Christa Eybers/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament has started the process to criminalise the faking of academic qualifications.

Department of Higher Education on Thursday briefed the higher education oversight committee on the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Bill.

The new bill introduces a number of measures to deal with misrepresentation of qualifications, including consequences for persons who fake their qualifications.

South Africans are no stranger to the phenomenon of misrepresentation of qualifications.

Former SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala resigned after a parliamentary committee found her guilty of lying to Parliament about having a degree.

Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga’s chief of staff, Marietha Aucamp, was also forced to resign last month after it emerged that she lied about her qualifications.

The Department of Higher Education’s Eben Boshoff said: “The concept of fraud and corruption is an aspect that must be dealt with. The bill seeks to identify and deal with the identification of these fraudulent and misrepresented qualifications.”

The proposed law will empower the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to establish and maintain registers for misrepresented qualifications and fraudulent qualifications.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)