Fake certificates trade on the rise

2011-11-29 00:00

EMPLOYERS should verify prospective employees’ qualifications because the purchasing and production of fraudulent documents is on the rise.

A Johannesburg couple were arrested on Thursday after being found in possession of 1 000 counterfeit Unisa qualifications and fake passports.

Two men were arrested on November 18 for selling fake matric certificates in Johannesburg and a man was arrested in February in the Eastern Cape for manufacturing and selling matric certificates.

Regulatory body Umalusi said 1 067 of 92 406 “verified” National Senior Certificates were confirmed as fraudulent.

Chief executive officer Dr Mafu Rako­metsi urged employers to take the trouble to verify the authenticity of their employees’ qualifications.

“The issuing of fraudulent certificates and the busting of syndicates that are involved in such activities is an ongoing reality which everyone has to contend with. This tends to undermine the credibi­lity of the education system.

“Candidates who have achieved a good qualification the hard way might be competing for work with people with fraudulent qualifications. Umalusi works with a number of clients who, on behalf of business and government organisations, verify the authenticity of certificates before an offer of employment or where further studies are being considered,” explained Rakometsi.

Unisa spokesperson Doreen Gough said the onus is always on employers to check with the university in question to confirm the degree.

“Unisa does prosecute anyone found using a fake Unisa degree and fake degrees have also been distributed from other universities as far as we know. We are actually quite easily able to detect the difference, but a check on an alleged student’s academic record will also confirm whether the student has a bona fide degree or not,” said Gough.

• thandiwe.jumo@witness.co.za

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