Job Seekers and prospective students who submit fraudulent qualifications or misrepresent their credentials face up to 5 years in prison in terms of a tough new law criminalising presenting falsified certificates.
President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Amendment Act 2019 into law on Monday 19 August 2019. Five-year sentences, unspecified fines or both will be handed to individuals found guilty of making false entries in the national learner’s records database or the misrepresented or fraudulent register; are party to the falsification, dissemination or publication of a qualification or part-qualification of any person or the database’s records; or the misrepresented or fraudulent qualifications register. Owners of bogus education institutions will also face jail time for awarding fraudulent qualifications. “A person, an education institution or skills development provider is guilty of an offence if a person, the education institution or skills development provider claims to be offering a qualification or part-qualification registered on the NQF whereas that qualification or part-qualification is not so registered”.
Jail time also looms for those who falsely or fraudulently claim to be holding qualifications or part-qualifications registered on the NQF or awarded by an education institution, skills development provider, quality council or obtained from a lawfully recognized foreign institution. The Act also provides for the establishment of a separate register of misrepresented or fraudulent qualifications, which is expected to be published periodically and act as a deterrent to individuals, educational institutions and skills development providers.
The Act will come into operation on the date determined by President Cyril Ramaphosa by proclamation in the government gazette.