Get real about fakes

2015-03-08 15:00

This week, government added its voice to those condemning the increase in the use of fake qualifications by South Africans to advance their careers – sometimes unnecessarily so.

Recent news stories tell of a fake doctor, fake degrees, a fake sangoma and many other fakes in our country.

These fakes have affected important institutions and posts. The public broadcaster, national airline, diplomatic service and even private sector have not been spared. Ordinary citizens are regularly being duped by bogus herbalists, pastors and doctors.

Clearly, we have a problem when so many reports of fakes emerge and damage the country’s reputation – not only here, but internationally.

Government said it would start a national register of people caught with fake qualifications. It called on employers to verify the qualifications of all employees to rid the country of those who are caught lying.

Government said it would “ensure that scrutiny and verification of qualifications are rigorously applied to protect the credibility, integrity and reputation of employers from people who possess fake qualifications”.

“The incidence of misrepresentation, which appears to be on the rise, will not be tolerated, as it impacts negatively on the reputation of the country, its institutions and the credibility of the National Qualifications Framework,” it said.

While the idea of a database for fake qualifications is encouraging , government needs to lead by example.

It is this government that has put qualifications cheats in office to run important institutions of state.

This is the same government that has posted South Africans with dubious qualifications abroad to head our various missions.

The private sector does not air its dirty laundry in public and prefers to keep this issue under wraps.

Government and the private sector need to lead the charge for the country to rid itself of the curse of fakery.

While the national register of fakes is welcome, a national database for all those who possess qualifications will also go a long way.

This will allow employers to verify the qualifications of prospective employees with one entity instead of the current situation where qualifications are checked individually through the various educational institutions from which they were obtained.

The national register could also be mandated to compel those who acquire qualifications outside the country to declare them to the register – which can then perform the verification in the public eye before these people take up jobs.

In doing so, South Africa will rid itself of cheats who knowingly buy degrees from nonexistent institutions.

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