Despite the fact that no endorsed matric certificates have been issued as yet by the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education Training, Umalusi, fake 2008 Matric certificates have started turning up at employment agencies and at prospective employers.
What makes the situation almost comical is the fact that that Umalusi only issues 2008 Matric result endorsement certificates in March or April.
Ina van der Merwe, CEO of credentials verification company, Kroll Background Screening, says the growing pressure of large numbers of unemployed matriculants looking for work was the main cause for fraud and forgery that is manifesting itself in the workplace.
Certificates from previous years are also being forged in large numbers, Van der Merwe said.
“The misrepresentations of the certificates vary. It is either an outright out-and-out forgery where all of the information on the certificate – except the applicant’s name – are false; or only some aspects of the certificate are altered – usually the symbols to show higher marks.”
If last year’s experience is to be repeated this year, tertiary training institutions like technikons and universities will also be teeming with bogus credentials by students who failed to get university exemption..
Last year a Unisa spokesman said the university had been “flooded by a veritable avalanche” of bogus matric certificates and many of those candidates who submitted false certificates were prosecuted.
Some forgeries were very professionally done and were only picked up when her company attempted to verify it with the authorities. Van der Merwe says very few employers in the private sector bothered to prosecute offenders.
More than 12% of the matric “qualifications” that Kroll verified in 2008 were “fraudulently misrepresented”. This number is up 65% from 2007.
“It has become an absolute necessity for employments agencies and prospective employers to verify the validity of all certificates, degrees and diplomas because of widespread fraud and forgery,” Van der Merwe says.