South Africa’s new laws around qualification fraud apply not only to CVs but also other platforms.
This is according to Gillian Lumb, a director at law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, who said that the broad manner of the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act could include fraudulent misrepresentations on social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
“Section 32 B (3) of the act provides that a person is guilty of an offence, if such person falsely or fraudulently claims to be holding a qualification or part-qualification registered on the NQF or awarded by an education institution, skills development provider, QC or obtained from a lawfully recognised foreign institution,” she said.
In terms of section 32 B (6), any person convicted of an offence is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, or to both a fine and imprisonment, said Lumb.
“The amendments mean that fraudulently misrepresenting one’s qualifications or part-qualifications can have very serious consequences, over and above the possibility of being dismissed for misrepresentation and/or dishonesty,” said Lumb.
President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act into law earlier this month.
The act allows 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 act also introduces harsh consequences for those who are caught lying about their achievements.