“The incidents of misrepresentation, which appear to be on the rise, will not be tolerated as they impact negatively on the reputation of the country, its institutions and the credibility of the National Qualifications Framework,” acting director general Donald Liphoko said.
All government departments, their entities and agencies needed to implement public service regulations to deal with the problem decisively, he said. Forging qualifications was illegal, he warned.
“We would like to caution people who are embellishing their CVs with fraudulent academic qualifications that the government is committed to rooting out such behaviour.”
There have been a number of scandals recently over public officials’ misrepresenting their academic qualifications.
These include senior member of the African National Congress and former MP Pallo Jordan, former SABC chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala, and South Africa’s ambassador to Japan, Mohau Pheko.
Pheko claimed she received her PhD from the American La Salle University in 2000. However, the university closed in 1996 when it emerged it was selling degrees and other academic qualifications via the internet.
Pheko told the SABC the university was promoted as legitimate and that she had registered at it, but it closed before she could be awarded her doctorate.
In December, Tshabalala resigned after she was unable to provide proof of her qualifications following an inquiry by a parliamentary committee.
Jordan resigned from Parliament and the ANC’s national executive committee last year after revelations that he had lied about having a PhD.
Liphoko urged South Africans to be aware of unscrupulous higher education institutions that were not registered with the department of higher education, nor accredited by official quality assurance bodies.
Former KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Vincent Mdunge was expected to appear in the Durban Regional Court on Wednesday for a sentencing date after the court found him guilty of using a fraudulent matric certificate when he joined the police in 1987.