The most common lies on South African CVs – which could soon land you in jail

The National Council of Provinces has officially adopted the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Bill, and the legislation has now been sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa for assent.

The new bill aims to prevent South African individuals from misrepresenting their qualifications by allowing for the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to establish and maintain separate registers for professional designations, misrepresented qualifications and fraudulent qualifications.

In addition to these new registers which will effectively ‘name and shame’ individuals who had been found to be holding fraudulent qualifications, the bill also introduces harsh consequences for those who are caught lying about their achievements.

Under the new act, any person convicted of an offence is liable to a fine and/or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.


While a number of high-profile South Africans have been found to have misrepresented their qualifications in the past, the wider South African public are also not above embellishing their CVs.

According to a report released by background screening company Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE) at the end of 2018, the number of qualifications found to be fraudulent has decreased to 1,678 in 2017, from 2,049 in 2016; however, the number of misrepresented qualifications has increased from 44,880 in 2016, to 50,618 in 2017.

Results showed that a candidate’s qualifications are the most likely aspect to contain discrepancies when compared to other background screening checks.

Aspects of a CV most frequently found to be misrepresented or incorrect:

  • Skills;
  • Job titles;
  • Responsibilities;
  • Period of employment;
  • Reason for leaving;
  • Employment history.

Read: How to format your CV for recruiting agencies

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The most common lies on South African CVs – which could soon land you in jail