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Lying about your qualifications is now a criminal offence


The National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act 12 of 2008 came into effect his week after being signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday.

The Amendment was initially proposed by the Department of Higher Education in order to clamp down on illegal tertiary institutions who issue fake certificates.

This means that any person who knowingly provides false or misleading information in any circumstances of this Act can face a fine or criminal prosecution which could result in up to five years in prison.

This will include:

  • if a person falsely/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.

  • Any person, education institution, skills development provider, foreign institution falsely claims to be registered and accredited as an educational institution, skills development provider or foreign institution in terms of the laws of the Republic or foreign law.

  • If a person, education institution its directors or board, a foreign institution its agents or directors or board, or a skills development provider is convicted of any offence under this Act, the court that imposes the sentence shall consider as an aggravating factor the fact that the offence was committed with the intent to gain financially, or to receive any favour, benefit, reward, compensation or any other advantage.

Any person convicted of an offence in terms of this Act is liable of contravening of sections 32B(1), 32B(2), 32B(3) or 32B(4)

In a nutshell, the amendment allows for the following:

  • to amend and insert certain definitions;

  • to provide for the verification of all qualifications or part-qualifications by the SAQA;

  • to provide for the formulation of criteria for evaluating foreign qualifications;

  • to provide for the establishment and maintenance of separate registers of misrepresented or fraudulent qualifications or part-qualifications;

  • to provide for a separate register for professional designations;

  • to provide for the referral of qualifications or part-qualifications to the SAQA for verification and evaluation;

  • to provide for offences and penalties which have a bearing on fraudulent qualifications;



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