Job seekers could now face jail time for lying on their CVs.

What you should know about the National Qualifications Amendment Bill.


Little white lies on your CV could now land you in big trouble. That’s because the National Qualifications Amendment Bill has been presented to Parliament in a bid to clamp down on the increasing number of South Africans with fraudulent qualifications. In fact, it was reported that the number of misrepresented or fraudulent academic qualifications have gone up to 1564 from 2009.


Implementation of the bill is pending approval by the president in May 2019. For now, many South Africans are wondering what its full impact will be. Particularly how it’ll affect high-ranking individuals who have embellished the truth on their CVs. Like the rest of the country, we’re waiting with bated breath to see how far the long arm of the law will reach.


What we do know is that the National Qualifications Amendment Bill now more clearly defines the crime of misrepresenting or faking one’s academic qualifications. And, importantly, assigns to it a suitable and fair penalty – a minimum of five years’ imprisonment. In the past, if employers found that their employees had lied about their qualifications, they could report them for fraud. But the National Qualifications Amendment Bill offers a straighter path to justice.


Furthermore, as part of the National Qualifications Amendment Bill’s implementation, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) will set up and manage a database of all graduates, qualifications and fraudulent qualifications. It’s an arduous task, but one that will, if executed successfully, make it easier to home in on fraudulent candidates.


Remember, the onus remains on employers to ensure that thorough background and reference checks are done on their prospective employees. Screening academic records, in particular, has become challenging. Democratic South Africa is a land of opportunities that’s attracting professionals from across Africa and the rest of the world. This widens the area that needs to be patrolled. What’s more, over the past few decades many local academic institutions have undergone name changes or changed their locations. This makes it harder to cross-check qualifications and, in many cases, academic records have been lost in transformation.


Someone who has lied about his or her qualifications will sooner or later reveal him or herself when they fail to live up to the task. But, unfortunately, an (unqualified) wolf in sheep’s clothing is often not uncovered until it’s too late and significant financial and reputational damage have been done.


The point is: Do your homework. Before appointing a candidate, check, double-check and check again. That’s where the services of a reputable recruitment consultancy such as Exceed Human Resources become invaluable. We have access to official databases that allow us to screen candidates’ academic, professional and criminal backgrounds. We also know it’s about asking the right questions in order to tell true talent from tricksters.