On 19 August 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law the National Qualifications Framework (NQF Amendment Act) Amendment Act 12 of 2019.
The NQF Amendment Act has implications not only for prospective employees and/or job seekers who misrepresent their qualifications but also for employers seeking to appoint such prospective employees or job seekers.
In terms of the NQF Amendment Act, prospective employees and/or job seekers who misrepresent their qualifications on their CVs may face possible jail time, a fine or both. It is also important to note that in terms of the Amendment Act misrepresenting one’s qualifications is not only limited to lying on CVs but could also include lying about it on social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
The amendments also introduce an obligation on employers in terms of the new section 32A to validate any qualification presented to them by ensuring that the qualification is registered on the national learners’ records database before appointing the prospective employee and/or job seeker.
In circumstances where the qualification is not registered on the national learners’ records database, employers are required to verify the qualification with the South African Qualifications Authority.
In terms of the new section 32B prospective employees and/or job seekers who are found to have mispresented their qualification will be guilty of an offense and will be liable to a fine or sent to jail for a maximum period of five years, or both a fine and imprisonment.
Given the high levels of fraud and dishonesty in the workplace, employers are encouraged to validate any qualification on the national learners’ records database and to also verify the qualification with SAQA before appointing prospective employees and/or job seekers. In view of South Africa’s unemployment crisis, employers should be vigilant as prospective employees and/or job seekers may seek to embellish their CVs or social media profiles in order to gain an advantage over other candidates.
Although signed into law the amendments are yet to come into effect.