Five years in jail for lying on your CV: just don't do it

Many high-profile South African's have been caught in a lie, with severe consequences to their careers.
Many high-profile South African's have been caught in a lie, with severe consequences to their careers.

Unemployment in South Africa is high, but matriculants and graduates still enter a competitive job market, and some are tempted to pad their CVs to get ahead. Until now, if a job seeker has lied on their CV they could get fired, but not jailed or fined. 

The National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act 12 of 2019 was updated this week though, and now claiming you have a qualification you don't actually have can land you in jail. 

Read the Act in English and isiZulu here

Beyond outright misrepresenting yourself on your CV or in a job application, even claiming, on social media, to have a qualification you haven't actually earned can get you locked up for as long as five years.

What's a lie?

The Act reads: 

32B. (1) A person is guilty of an offence if the person—

(a) makes or causes to be made a false entry in the national learners’ records database or the misrepresented or fraudulent register;

(b) is a party to the falsification and dissemination or publication of a qualification or part-qualification of any person or the records of the national learners’ records database or the misrepresented or fraudulent register; or

(c) with a fraudulent purpose, knowingly provided false or misleading information in any circumstances in which this Act requires the person to provide information or give notice to another person.

In short, if you say you have a qualification or part of a qualification, that you don't have, or help a friend or colleague to create a fraudulent CV, or misrepresent your qualifications in any way, you're breaking the law.

And, importantly:

(6) Any person convicted of an offence in terms of this Act, is liable, in the case of a contravention of sections 32B(1), 32B(2), 32B(3) or 32B(4) to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

Additionally, anyone can report you for this criminal offence. Which means that parents, friends, family, educators and employers who know you're fibbing can report your deceit. 

High-profile fibbers

According to Careers24, many high-profile South African's have been caught in a lie, with severe consequences to their careers.

See the list below: 

1. SABC Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, reportedly lied about having a matric qualification

2. “Dr” Daniel Mtimkulu, Chief Engineer at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), reportedly lied about his qualifications.

3. Pallo Jordan, former Minister of Arts and Culture has already admitted that he fabricated his degrees.

4. Ellen Tshabalala, former Chairperson of the SABC never completed her BComm degree.

5. SA Airways board Chairperson, Dudu Myeni admitted to not having her Bachelors degree.

6. South Africa's ambassador to Japan, Mohau Pheko, has admitted to lying about having a doctorate.

It's hard enough building a solid career out of school, don't kick start your career with a stint in jail. It's just not worth it. 

Chat back:

Share your stories with us, and we could publish them. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

Compiled for Parent24 by Elizabeth Mamacos 

Sources: Business Insider; Careers24

Sign up for Parent24's newsletters.

Read more:

You can now go to jail for faking a degree on your CV – or claiming a qualification you don't have on LinkedIn or Twitter

Is your family poor, middle class or rich? Take this test and find out

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Gauteng DA leader Solly Msimanga says the party's voters want it to explore conditional coalition talks with the ANC. 
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
It's a step in the right direction. An ANC-DA coalition would be the most stable option for SA
32% - 3619 votes
The DA should focus on working with all opposition parties, including the EFF, to unseat the ANC
14% - 1620 votes
The DA should rather remain in opposition than form a coalition with the ANC or the EFF
53% - 5980 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.