Department of Higher Education has warned school leavers who will be looking for space in colleges to be vigilant against bogus colleges.
Dr Shahida Issack, Director for Private and Higher Institutions Higher Education says the bogus operators have gotten smarter at their game.
The department is warning school leavers about fake institutions, urging them to verify with the accreditation before enrolling at colleges.
We experience all kinds of irregular behaviour, the sooner we close one gap they open the other.
— Dr Shahida Issack, Director for Private and Higher Institutions Higher Education
With about half of the world’s fastest growing countries based in Africa, the continent is quickly becoming a global business and economic hotspot. However, hand-in-hand with this growth comes rapid industry expansion, recruitment of a global workforce and – of notable concern – increasing risk of qualification and CV fraud. This is according to Ina van der Merwe, director and CEO of African background screening market leader, Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE), who highlights that African qualifications carry a high risk of being fraudulent.
“As a whole, cross-border qualifications are more likely to be fake, altered or all together fraudulent. Our data suggests that risk indicators on these qualifications have increased from 40% in 2015 to 43% in 2016 to-date (January to October). “Although a portion of this risk can be attributed to other confounding factors, it is clear that there is a greater propensity for qualification fraud with foreign candidates or in countries where background screening is not yet common practice. A candidate may be less likely to lie on their CV if they know that their credentials will be verified.
“Unfortunately, our research shows that the vast majority of cross border recruits are not being screened sufficiently. This means that while opportunities for global competitiveness are abundant, there are an overwhelming amount of job-seekers who are less than honest about their professional capabilities. And seeing that these facts aren’t properly checked, organisations are at high risk of financial and legal implications,” she explains. Findings from Lex Mundi’s Emerging Africa Conference in Cape Town note that by 2040, Africa’s working age population will rise to 1,1-billion – greater than the working age populations of China and India combined. With this in mind, Van der Merwe suggests that the drive for business, investment and employment within the continent is clearly justified. However, the risks associated with qualification and CV fraud means that businesses need to strongly consider implementing an international screening program.
“An international screening program ensures that all credentials are verified through relevant and accurate measures irrespective of that credential’s country of origin. This also includes various vetting services such as criminal record and credit history checks which, in addition to qualification verification, are in high demand across specific industries in Southern, East and West Africa specifically,” she says. She adds that performing a background check on a candidate or employee with foreign work experience or qualifications is typically viewed as being far more complex than doing so locally. “This is likely the major issue which has held businesses back from conducting such checks in the past. However, this simply cannot be the case moving forward.
“As globalisation continues to blur borders, international screening needs to become a priority and top vetting organisations have solutions and centralised teams in place to make it possible. “Ultimately, to avoid taking a financial and reputational hit while exploring all Africa has to offer from a growth perspective, it is essential for businesses to know – and verify – their staff,” Van der Merwe concludes.
CERTSA, the National Certificate Registrar of South Africa, will again be presenting their anti-fraud certificate solutions at the Digital Education Expo at the Sandton Convention Centre on 18-19 October 2016.
The corrupt practices of South Africans have also manifested in the falsification of curriculum vitae, with government officials claiming they are what they aren’t. Although this situation is unlike the case of manipulating tenders and bribery, the people involved here however cunningly earn salaries they’re unqualified to earn, denying the country of competent service delivery.
The ANC spokesperson Carl Niehaus lied about his qualifications in 2014, it was discovered that Pallo Jordan the former minister of Arts and Culture lied about his PhD and has no claim over any form of tertiary qualification, Daniel Mtimkulu the Head of Engineering Services at Prasa resigned after it was uncovered that he has no PhD in engineering, and is not even registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa.
In SABC, the former board chairperson Ellen Tshabalala and Hlaudi Motsoeneng were discovered less qualified than they claimed, the acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout and board chairperson Dude Myeni at SA Airways (SAA) were also caught, former Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sicelo Shiceka lied about having a Master’s degree, and former Sanral board chairperson Tembakazi Mnyaka resigned after it was discovered that she has no Master’s degree in town planning as listed in her CV.
This type of fraud still makes the top 10 list because of how often this still occurs in South Africa. Candidates applying for positions at companies are lying on their CVs in order to be picked for the job. Often candidates lie about their qualifications on their CVs. Not only is this blatant Fraud, but companies are investing resources into their staff members. These resources are now being floundered on incapable fraudsters who are not qualified to do the job they were hired for.
Another issue is these fraudsters now have access to sensitive company information which is a massive security risk as this individual can potentially commit further fraud. Ultimately the Company is the victim in this Scam, but the run on affects could potentially hurt the consumer as well.
On the 5th of January 2016, Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga announced the matric pass rate of 70.7%. This means that out of the 799 306 full- and part-time candidates that sat for their examinations, only 565 109 passed. This reflects a 5.1% drop in the average pass rate from 75.8% in 2014.
Ina van der Merwe, CEO of South African background screening market leader, Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE) notes that many of these matriculates will be competing for jobs along with recently graduated students and the country’s 5.4 million unemployed (according to Statistics South Africa’s latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey).
“Temptation to lie about your qualifications or results on your CV may be heightened. It is, however, quickly becoming standard practice for businesses to screen prospective employees during the hiring process which often includes verifying South African Matric and Senior Certificate qualifications.”
She continues, “If the company does conduct a background check and finds that your qualification is inaccurate or fraudulent, you will be discovered and may be found guilty of fraud. As a result, you may be investigated, charged and get a criminal record or face jail time for fraud.”
MIE works with the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) to combat fraud by populating their database of individuals who have committed a relevant offence - primarily those who have committed qualification fraud.
This information is shared with member organisations and - in turn - offers South African businesses a means of protecting themselves from possibly having to incur costs and risks. In 2014 and 2015 (January - August), MIE has listed 3389people to the database.
Van der Merwe advises that matriculates and graduates bear in mind that background screening cannot be done without a job applicant’s consent. While the vetting process may be unfamiliar to those entering the workforce for the first time, refusing one may arouse suspicion. It is best to rather be honest about your results and qualifications. If you have nothing to hide, there is nothing to fear,” she says.
CERTSA launched their range of products at the Digital Education Expo at the Sandton Convention Centre on 6-7 October 2015. After 3 years of intensive development and 6 months of running a pilot programme with Emcare, a medical training company, CERTSA launched its products to the education sector. Jason, Roger and Chris are shown here at the CERTSA stand.
Fraudulent qualifications are a problem in South Africa, with candidates applying for jobs using fake matric certificates and degrees on the rise.
Fraudulent certificates, diplomas, and degrees are a problem in South Africa, with more candidates trying to secure jobs using fake qualifications.
EMPS, a company which provides background screening services, said it has found that 7.62% of all qualifications verified by it in 2015 were “problematic” – compared to 6.8% in 2014.
“People using fake qualifications are damaging the credibility and reputation of institutions of higher learning. The incidents of misrepresentation are serious and will not be tolerated in our country,” said EMPS CEO Kirsten Halcrow.
Halcrow said the government needed to concentrate on weeding out those within its ranks using fake degree and certificates, and not let qualifications fraudsters continue in their positions.
She said private companies, too, needed to beware of applicants using fake qualifications.
“Apart from being unable to do the job they were hired for, they could also do severe damage to the reputation of a company.”
Mhlontlo municipality is under the spotlight again – this time an e-Natis clerk is being investigated for fraud after he reportedly falsified a matric certificate.
Zola Mhlotshazana allegedly submitted a matric certificate belonging to someone else when he applied for the job two years ago.
A second Mhlontlo Municipality employee is being investigated for fraud for a falsified matric certificate. Picture: FILE / GALLO IMAGES
Mhlotshazana is the second person being investigated for fraud in Mhlontlo.
The Daily Dispatch reported that former council speaker and ANC regional chairman Xolile Nkompela was being investigated for allegedly using a fraudulent teacher’s diploma when he applied for a job as a teacher some years ago.
Police have confirmed they are investigating a case of fraud against Mhlotshazana and the latest case puts into question the small council’s ability to verify applicants’ qualifications before making appointments.
SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) in Qumbu initially rang the alarm in 2014 when they asked Mhlontlo municipality’s corporate services director Lizo Matiwane to look into Mhlotshazana’s matric certificate.
In documents seen by the Dispatch, Umalusi senior certificate officer Zolile Hlabeni confirmed in an affidavit that Mhlotshazana did not have an authentic matric certificate.
“The copy of the certificate as submitted for verification is not authentic. The information on the Umalusi database indicates that the certificate belongs to somebody else.
“[There were] no records found on the Malusi database for Zola Mhlotshazana,” he swore under oath on February 23 this year.
He declared the certificate which Mhlotshazana claimed was his, was in fact that of Siyabonga Artwell Mdingi which was effective from December 2000.
Hlabeni had verified the certificate using the unique certificate’s number qualification after investigating officer Constable Bandise Lokhwe made the request in May last year.
Mthatha police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Dineo Koena said the case was handed over to the organised crime unit last month.
Mhlotshazana declined to comment, citing that the matter was with the police.
Despite Matiwane promising then Samwu secretary Atalanta Tiba on May 21 2014 that “the matter is being attended to”, more than two years later, no action was ever taken against Mhlotshazana.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Matiwane referred questions to municipal manager Sibongile Sotshongaye.
The accounting officer said that unlike when police informed him of the probe against Nkompela, that had not happened in the Mhlotshazana case. “No one has ever come to me with the allegations.
“Procedurally, the municipal manager should have done an internal investigation but because this has just been hearsay, we could not do anything.
“The police came to the municipal manager regarding the [former] speaker [Nkompela] and told me they were investigating him.
One of the common struggles all companies share is acquisition of the right personnel – whether the individual has the right personality, background and professional ethic for the position.
And while qualifications carry weight, forgery and faked references are a reality of the cyber-savvy times we inhabit, according to LexisNexis.
And once individuals are inside a company, there is still the risk of them misusing their access to company information, processes or assets, the provider of governance, risk and compliance solutions said.
Nowhere is this more relevant than PricewaterhouseCoopers 2016 Global Economic Crime Survey, which indicates that when it comes to committing economic crimes… South Africa is ahead of the curve.
The latest edition of the biennial Global Economic Crime Survey showed the level at which this form of crime currently occurs within the country’s borders, is nearly double that of our international counterparts – both within the continent and outside of it.
Globally, 6,337 participants in 115 countries were interviewed for the analysis – 232 of which were South African-based, senior-level management from varying industry sectors.
More than one third (36%) of organisations have experienced economic crime in the past 24 months, and PwC says the situation has reached “pandemic level” with in the country.
According to LexisNexis South Africa, company detection methods were not keeping pace with the advances in economic crime.
“The PwC survey showed that almost half the incidents of serious economic crimes were perpetrated by internal parties and that regulatory compliance is often an added source of stress and burden to companies,” said Rudi Kruger, LexisNexis’ GRC division GM said.
In fact the financial cost of each fraud is on the rise. Globally asset misappropriation was the most pervasive form of economic crime, at 64%, followed by cybercrime which jumped from 24% in the 2014 survey to 32% in the 2016 report.
Bribery and corruption was slightly down from 27% to 24% globally, procurement fraud was at 23%, human resource fraud at 12% and money laundering at 11%.
Kruger said human resource fraud had flourished within South Africa, particularly qualifications fraud.
“Our own RefCheck data shows qualifications fraud is the biggest HR fraud concern. A quarter of all matric certificates cannot be confirmed by us. One in 15 tertiary qualifications could not be confirmed due to invalid data, incomplete courses or no record of candidate. A third of all global qualifications checked through RefCheck Advanced could not be verified,” he said.
In the PwC survey more than two thirds of those who reported human resources fraud attributed this to false qualifications being submitted by potential employees
Business Day Live
South African Qualifications Authority CEO, Joe Samuels, believes that misrepresentation by a person of his or her qualification represents an act of fraud.
Samuels was speaking in an interview with Talk Radio 702, following a spate of high profile cases in South Africa over the past few weeks including two board members within the SABC, and ANC veteran, Pallo Jordan.
He told Radio 702 that the figures presented to the authority over the past number of years did not point to a crisis.
For the financial year ended March 2015, he said that the qualifications authority has already conducted 12,000 verifications, with only 66 determined to be fraudulent, or 0.6%.
Samuels said that the “key crisis” is that not enough people are scrutinizing qualifications presented to them.
He said that, from his own personal view, misrepresentation by a person of his or her qualification represented an act of fraud.
He said that when SAQA finds a case of qualification misrepresentation, it is reported to the police.
Notably, in the UK, “fraud by false representation” carries a maximum 10 year jail sentence – including certain CV embellishments.
On Monday, the Democratic Alliance rebuked Parliament for dragging its feet on the investigation into SABC Chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala.
“It has been over a month since I formally requested the Chairperson of the Communications Portfolio Committee to initiate an inquiry into allegations that the Chairperson of the SABC Board, Ellen Tshabalala, misled Parliament about her qualifications,” said Gavin Davis, DA Shadow Minister of Communications.
A report in City Press said that Tshabalala holds neither a BCom degree nor a postgraduate diploma in labour relations as stated on her Curriculum Vitae.
The DA’s bid to have the appointment of SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng set aside will be heard in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday (19 August).
Motsoeneng was found by the Public Protector to have lied about passing high school to receive his matriculation certificate.
The DA noted that President Jacob Zuma said that people who falsify their qualifications should be disqualified from employment in the public sector.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said that suspected fraudulent activity should be referred to the police for investigation and prosecution.
“Unless employers, institutions and citizens can feel confident that individuals have earned the qualifications that they purport to have, the entire system will lose legitimacy,” Nzimande said in a statement last week.
“Even the qualifications of those who have obtained them legitimately will be treated with suspicion, and this is unfair to all those who have genuinely worked to acquire such qualifications.”
The Background Discrepancy Survey by First Advantage has given India the notorious label of being the centriole of the highest number of cases of employment related inconsistencies. The survey had been carried out globally, and the data had been collected from the employment log of various industries. While an alarming rate of 50% of male job aspirants forging their previous job experience certificates have been exposed, the statistics of 2013 indicates cases of dissonance in the various employment sectors to be 71.5%. 50% of the job seekers with fake credentials pertain to the BFSI segment, with 18% in the IT sector. In the mid – level companies, background checks are usually perfunctory, only the top corporate go for a serious screening of the credentials of the candidate. Educational authorities in Maharashtra, Kerala and several other states, have stumbled upon cases of even professors working for various reputed educational institutes, to be holders of fake credentials. And why should it not be? As per a rough estimate, there are about 2500 fake universities and 7500 fake companies existing in India!
The high rate of unemployment in our country and the exorbitant costs of higher education further fuel the educational fraud rackets, selling forged certificates to the students and job seekers, with the right low on morals and the necessary criminal streak to avail a shortcut to success. It has been found that, not only bogus universities, but also reputed institutes are involved in the forged certificates racket. A decent MBA degree from a reputed institute will cost you a minimum of Rs 7 to 8 lakhs and three years. What, if you get the same degree for one tenth of that amount and in 15 days? Yes, there are many takers, who usually go out of the state they belong to, and apply for jobs in different states, where the chances of getting exposed are even slimmer. While Uttar Pradesh tops the list of bogus universities, Karnataka records the highest number of employment background inconsistency cases. The case of fake companies will be dealt in another article. This article exclusively focuses on the educational fraud rackets. Discussed below are some cases of the fake certificate rackets that had been cracked by the legal authorities.