Lying on your CV, here’s what you need to know

Qualification fraud is on the increase in South Africa, according to recent research performed by a reputable background screening company. The most prevalent type of misrepresentation on South African CV’s were found to be that of non-existent matric certificates, inflated education, incomplete university degrees and fake degree certificates. Therefore, background screening checks are vital when hiring candidates.

The new National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act aims to prevent South Africans from committing qualification fraud. The new laws, which were recently signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, allow SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) to maintain separate registers for professional designations, misrepresented qualifications and fraudulent qualifications. These registers ‘name and shame’ offenders with serious consequences.

Deliberate misrepresentation on CV’s and job applications constitutes misrepresentation which is now punishable by law. Harsh consequences were introduced for such offenders: Lying about qualifications on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter could lead to a fine or imprisonment of up to five years, or both.

The law will also impact employers and education institutions. Before appointing or registering any individual - employers, education institutions, skills development providers and quality councils are required to verify whether the qualifications or part qualifications of a candidate are registered on the national learners' records database. If discrepancies or falsified information is found, it must be referred to SAQA for investigation.

Protect your business by screening possible candidates

Hiring unqualified personnel can come at a high-cost, as gross negligence and financial mistakes could cost the company dearly, not only in money but in time, training and resources. The best way to protect your business when hiring new candidates is to do a thorough background screening.

Recruitment agencies are notorious for doing background checks, as they want to place honest, quality candidates with their clients. If you want the best possible candidate who has been screened properly, it may be worth the investment of using a recruitment agency to place a suitable candidate.

Ensure that thorough background checks are done on applicants to eliminate the possible disaster that can ensue when hiring a dishonest and/or unqualified candidate. Screen candidates properly not only to protect your business from an operational and monetary aspect, but to cover yourself legally too.

Rely on MMS consulting services to assist in the risk management of your business. Be it in your business strategy, management operations or structure, a professional consultant will help you grow your business, and better manage risk. If you require our input or advice, reach out to us at

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