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‘Go and study or go to jail’

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Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa has laid down the gauntlet on the issue of fake qualifications, writes Jenny Reid, MD of iFacts.
During an update to Parliament on government’s efforts to improve the efficiency of key state-owned enterprises, Ramaphosa said that government is busy putting measures in place that will see those misrepresenting their qualifications being reported to the National Prosecuting Authority and possibly even facing jail time.
And it really is about time. Over the past year alone, we’ve seen a deluge of fake qualifications scandals that all revolve around some of the top dogs at the SABC, SAA, Prasa – and the list goes on and on.
For a while there it had almost seemed as if everyone had conveniently forgotten that a fake qualification is in fact fraud, which is in fact a criminal offense. And it’s actually not good enough that these perpetrators mumble a half-hearted apology and then live out their days in quiet comfort and obscurity. An example needs to be made of those liars and cheats that have been paid excessive salaries from public tax money, only to make a mess of those jobs that they have absolutely no concept of how to do.
This type of behaviour is not tolerated in the private sector and it’s high time our state-owned enterprises, and those that conveniently forget that they are actually public servants are held to the same standard. Many of these state-owned enterprises are now on the brink of collapse, and in no small part due to a cascade of fraud and corruption mixed with a heavy helping of complete incompetence.
To ensure that only qualified individuals are employed, the process of qualifications, experience and certificate verification must be thorough. The process typically involves reference inquiries, verification of qualifications as well as credit and criminal history checks.
iFacts enables organisations to ensure that current and potential employee candidates have not falsified their personal information and qualifications. This is accomplished through a full bouquet of People Screening Services, including Pre-employment Screening and Background Checks. Unemployment statistics show that more than 40% of South Africans are desperate for work and each vacant position is heavily contested. As a result, the falsification of qualifications and experience in South Africa stands at epidemic proportions. In fact, over the past year iFacts has found up to 24% of the CVs checked for our corporate clients showed that potential candidates had been deceitful about their qualifications.
The deputy-president added that government has investigated reports of incidents where people have faked their qualifications and that the minister of higher education and training was preparing a presentation to address this problem.
“We call on members of the public to ensure the do not jeopardise their employment prospects,” said Ramaphosa. “We must be a country that promotes the values of integrity and honesty and people must stop fraud. We have got to stop being a country of people who misrepresent what they are qualified in. Let us be properly educated people. Roll up your sleeves and work hard like so many of us have had to do. Remove those unwarranted qualifications from your CV and embark on a process of study.”
Well – let’s hope the powers that be start to set the example.