The bill, which went out for public comment, hopes to deal decisively with false qualifications and ensure that professionals in all vocations are correctly accredited for their occupation.
Provisions in the amended bill include having all qualifications or part-qualifications verified by the SA Qualifications Authority, providing criteria for evaluating foreign qualifications, providing a register of misrepresented or fraudulent qualifications and providing penalties for those bearing fraudulent qualifications.
According to the bill, any person who untruthfully claims to have a qualification awarded to them by an institution is guilty of an offence and liable to be conviction of fraud.
Portfolio committee on higher education and training whip Danny Kekana said there was no prescribed way for the institution to deal with fraudsters, but the amendment gave the law power and specified procedures to follow when addressing fraud.
“Qualification authorities are not in the business of prosecuting people. We take the matter to court and the court decides what to do. The court might decide to withdraw their qualification or even jail them if it was intentional.
“Now, as we stand, we don’t have the right to deal with it. With the amendment, the law will outline how to deal with fraudulent qualifications. Once the court finds someone guilty, they will be named and shamed,” said Kekana
Committee chairperson Connie September said the bill would ensure everyone was correctly accredited and would make fraud a thing of the past.
“This is an incredible step as it protects credibility of our system and the workplace from being blindsided by mere attendance of foreign universities. Fraudulent qualifications and misrepresentation will no longer go undetected and unpunished,” said September.