File picture: Rogan Ward

Cape Town - As the fifth parliamentary term came to an end this week, the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) concluded its term by adopting a number of statutes including the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Bill which will name and shame those using fraudulent academic qualifications.

The National Assembly during its consideration of the bill learnt that about 97 national qualifications and 95 foreign qualifications were misrepresented or found to be fraudulent between last October and November bring the number up to 1564 from 2009.

Though the NCOP passed the bill with the ANC’s majority, some of its members were against it for various reasons.

DA MP Belinda Bozzoli said the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), which will be tasked with managing the database, does not have the capacity to deal with the kind of responsibility assigned to it.

“We are worried about the role of SAQA which is going to have to run this database which will need to be 100% up to date and perfect. We don’t think that is government’s strength. It will be given the responsibility of running this huge database which contains the names of all graduates, all qualifications and fraudulent qualifications. It’s a huge task for SAQA,” said Bozzoli.

According to the bill, qualifications presented for study, employment or appointment will be referred to SAQA for verification or evaluation.

All qualifications must be captured on the SAQA database.

The bill states that any person who fraudulently claims to have received a qualification is guilty of an offence, and is liable on conviction to any sentence which may be imposed for an offence of fraud.

The IFP supported the Bill, but said it was also concerned about its implementation.

IFP MP Xolani Ngwezi said: “South Africans are no strangers to misrepresentation of qualifications. It has become so common that it is a little frightening. Numerous reports have come out that some individuals are in high positions without qualification, or fake qualifications.”

He continued: “The bill is premised on the effort to deal with this phenomenon. What is concerning to the IFP is the burden placed on employers and institutions of higher learning, as job creators and skills providers.

Political Bureau