Possible jail time for an employee who fraudulently misrepresents their qualifications

On 19 August 2019 the National Qualifications Framework (NQF Amendment Act) Amendment Act 12 of 2019 was signed into law by the president.

The NQF Amendment Act has far-reaching implications for any job applicants who misrepresent their qualifications as well as any potential employers seeking to appoint such job applicants.

The job applicants who are found to be guilty of such misconduct may be criminally charged and face possible jail time or maybe fined or even both.

This misrepresentation of one’s qualification is not restricted to one CV but can be extended to include misrepresentations made on any social media or other digital means such as but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn et cetera.

Furthermore in terms of the amended section 32A of the NQF Amendment Act now places a positive obligation on prospective and current employers to validate any qualification(s) as provided by any prospective or current employee and the obligation extends on the employer ensuring that the qualification(s) are indeed registered on the national learners’ records database before appointing the job applicant.

Should  the job applicants qualification not be registered on the national learners’ records database, employers are required to verify the qualification with the South African Qualifications Authority.

In terms of the new section 32B job applicants who mispresent  their qualification(s) will be guilty of a criminal offence and may be sentenced  to pay a fine or jail time for a maximum period of five years, or both a fine and imprisonment.

One reads about a great many high profile cases where a job applicant or even an employee who has been appointed based on the misrepresentation of his qualification(s) so these amendments should go a long way to protecting an employer, properly abided by, and in the public sector may end up saving the taxpayers. There have been a number of scandals recently over public officials’ misrepresenting their academic qualifications. Some of these include senior member of the African National Congress and former MP Pallo Jordan, former SABC chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala, and South Africa’s ambassador to Japan, Mohau Pheko.

An employer is urged to be far more vigilant in this respect because in the current economic climate and with such high levels of unemployment there may be even greater temptation for prospective employees/job applicants to misrepresent their qualifications in order to get their foot in the door. 

Kindly note however that these amendments have been signed into law but are not yet in effect so all job applicants and/employers must make themselves aware of these amendments to the NQF to avoid any nasty surprises or consequences and possible financial loss.

****Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Should you require more information on this topic or any issue arising out of this please contact Allardyce & Partners on 011-234 2125 or enquiries@www.allardyce.co.za.

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