Don’t trust me, I’m a doctor – Fake doctors to be named and shamed

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This is the hard line the government is taking against people falsifying their qualifications and follows revelations that many senior state employees lie about their “degrees”.

The SA Qualifications Authority has gazetted a draft national policy on the misrepresentation of qualifications to deal with the scourge.

It proposes that the names of people or organisations that have misrepresented their qualifications be registered.

It also proposes that information received from the police about finalised court cases and sentencing be registered.

Many senior government officials and politicians have been exposed for claiming qualifications they did not have.

“Media exposure has created greater public awareness about misrepresented qualifications,” the Qualifications Authority said.

Former SABC chairman Ellen Tshabalala was exposed as a liar when she claimed to have a BCom and postgraduate degrees from Unisa. Not only did she not have the qualifications claimed, she had failed most of her Unisa course modules.

The Passenger Rail Agency of SA was rocked by a similar scandal when it emerged that its head of engineering was not registered as an engineer as he had claimed, and as was required for the job.

Daniel Mtimkulu had claimed to hold a doctorate in engineering from a German university.

Prominent ANC leader and government minister Pallo Jordan’s CV stated that he had a postgraduate degree from the London School of Economics.

He, too, was caught out as a liar.

Net1 CEO Serge Belamant referred to himself as “Dr Belamant”, claiming to have an honorary doctorate from Burkes University.

The honorary degree was fake and Belamant claimed to be the victim of a scam.

The draft policy says no mercy may be shown to individuals who obtain qualifications from “degree mills” because they knew they had not studied for the qualification.

“Universities are faced with prospective students who submit, as proof of their fulfilment of the admission requirements, qualifications that they have not rightfully earned.

“Degree mills continue to operate unabated. As soon as one is shut, another mushrooms in its place.

“People are appointed to positions based on their false qualifications, which raises questions around their competence to hold these positions.

“In more senior positions, the safety of ordinary citizens and employees, the long-term viability and profitability of organisations, and public service delivery rest in these fraudsters’ hands.”

The policy details how those presenting falsified qualifications should be dealt with and defines genuine qualifications.

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