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  1. The purpose of this Policy is to:
  •  Define what is meant by misrepresented qualifications;
  •  Provide  a framework  for dealing  with individuals  and providers  who misrepresent qualifications; and
  • Define the roles and responsibilities of the different role-players.

The Policy includes:

  • Definitions of terminology used in the context of this Policy;
  •  The  legislative   environment  pertaining  to  the  Policy  and  a  description  of  the legislative amendments required to enable the Policy to be implemented;
  •  The different categories and types of actions by individuals and providers that can be construed as qualification misrepresentation;
  •  The requirements for inclusion on the Register of Misrepresented Qualifications and
  • Providers operating outside of the South African NQF (RMQP), of individuals found to have misrepresented their qualifications or obtained their qualifications from a degree mill;

The requirements for inclusion on the RMQP, of providers operating outside of the South African NQF;

The requirements for inclusion on the Register of Fraudulent Qualffications, of the names and details of individuals and providers found guilty of qualifications fraud by a court of law;

Description of the processes to be followed when a qualification is suspected of

having been misrepresented:

  • The process  applied  to  confirm  cases  of  misrepresentation   and  to  deal  with confirmed cases of misrepresentation;
  • The process to deal with foreign qualifications where the definition/ understanding of fraud/ misrepresentation in the foreign country is different to that of South Africa and where the nature of the foreign institution differs from those in South Africa;
  • The process to handle qualifications that have been issued by fcreign institutions that

no longer exist; and

  • Measures to deal with exceptions and exclusions.
  • The respective roles and responsibilities of the different bodies involved;
  • The mechanism(s) available to individuals and providers who have been identified as having misrepresented qualifications, to respond to the claim before their names are added to the RMQP, and
  •  The appeals  process  available to individuals  and providers  whose  details already
  • appear on the RMQP.


 This Policy covers:

  • All cases of qualification misrepresentation by individuals living in, who have studied in or who want to live/ work/ study in South Africa; and
  • Providers who operate in South Africa and have flouted the legislation/ regulations that pertain to registration, accreditation, the issuing of certificates and/or marketing of qualification offerings.

It should be noted that SAQA reserves the right to decide on which foreign qualifications and foreign institutions to recognise. SAQA is guided by the Policy and Criteria for the Recognition of Fcreign Qualifications in the South African NQF and bilateral recognition agreements that the South African government has signed with foreign nations, but is under no obligation to recognise any foreign qualification cr provider.


The objectives of this Policy are to:

  • Establish the Register of Misrepresented Qualifications and Providers Operating outside of the South African NQF (RMQP);
  • Define the responsibilities of NQF partners who suspect/confirm that a qualification has been misrepresented;
  • Indicate the rules governing the inclusion on and removal from the RMQP;
  • Outline the responsibilities of private qualification verification agencies and the private sector when confronted with a misrepresented qualification;
  • Outline the proposed role and responsibilities of the South African Police Services (SAPS) in investigating cases of misrepresentation and providing feedback on progress with investigations;
  • Outline the proposed role and responsibilities of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in prosecuting cases of misrepresented qualifications and providing information about individuals and providers convicted of fraud relating to qualifications; and
  • Outline SAQA’s co-ordinating role in dealing with misrepresented and fraudulent qualifications.


The following principles underpin this Policy:

  • A person and/or provider are confirmed to have misrepresented qualifications or a provider has operated outside of the South African NQF if supporting evidence can show this to be true.  The person’s name and details, or details about the provider with the relevant timeframes of non-compliance (if applicable) are published in the RMQP.
  • A person and/or provider are guilty of qualification fraud only when convicted by a
  • court of law.  Details about the person and/or provider are entered into the Register of Fraudulent Qualifications with details of the court sentencing and relevant timeframes.
  •  Where qualifications are submitted for verification either by individuals or by
  • prospective employees, the qualification holder must be informed of the process and give written consent to have his/her name included in the RMQP if he/she has misrepresented his/her qualifications, or where the provider, through which the qualification was obtained, is found to be a degree mill.
  • Innocent parties may not be unnecessarily punished because of the unscrupulous
  • actions of other parties.
  • All parties involved in the investigation of possible qualification misrepresentation

must be informed of:

  • The pending investigation,
  • Possible action in the case of a confirmed finding,
  • Their right to make representation to the proceedings, and
  • Their right to appeal the findings of the investigation. (vi) Both registers will be made public by SAQA.


A qualifications/part-qualification has been misrepresented if:

  • It does nct meet the criteria to be an authentic qualification;
  • The certificate of award was not issued by the provider;
  • An individual alters the certificate of award or the SAQA Certification of
  • Evaluation for a qualification; and
  • An individual offers for any reason, a qualification that was obtained from a degree mill.

A provider has misrepresented a qualification/part-qualification if the provider:

  • Fails to inform the learners that (a) the qualification/part qualification is not registered on the NQF or (b) the provider is not accredited by the relevant Quality Council to offer the qualification/part-qualification; or
  • Misleads the public in the marketing of a qualification/part-qualification.


  • The NQF Act and related legislation, by implication, requires SAQA and the NQF partners to uphold the integrity of, and act against threats to, the NQF. It is incumbent upon SAQA and the Quality Councils to take action against providers and individuals who misrepresent qualifications.  Such actions will also act as a deterrent to those considering misrepresenting their qualifications.
  • It is imperative that all applications submitted for the verification of qualifications must contain a statement signed by the qualification hdder indicating that s/he understands that, should her/his qualification(s) be found to be misrepresented or from a degree mill, then her/his name will be included in the RMQP.


The QCs must:

Investigate all suspected cases of qualification misrepresentation related to qualifications on their respective sub-frameworks and providers accredited by them;


Inform all relevant  parties of:

  • The intention of the QC to further investigate possible qualification misrepresentation;
  • Their right to make submissions to the QC;
  • The outcome  of the investigation; and
  • Their right to appeal the decisions.
  1. Appoint a committee to consider  the evidence  surrounding an alleged case and make a decision for consideration by the QC CEO;
  2. Keep a list of all cases of suspected qualification misrepresentation related to their qualifications sub-framework and accredited providers;
  3. Develop the knowledge and skills of staff to be able to identify and investigate misrepresented qualifications;
  4. Confirm cases of misrepresentation related to qualifications on their respective sub­ frameworks or by providers accredited by them;
  5. Report cases of misrepresentation to the South African Police Services (SAPS) for further investigation and possible prosecution;
  6. Recommend to the DHET to withdraw  the provider registration where appropriate; and
  7. Report all cases of misrepresentation every two months to SAQA in accordance with
  8. SAQA’s reporting schedule. The report must include: All information on the matter;
  9. Where  a decision has been reached, whether or not a charge was laid with the SAPS;
  10. A recommendation for the inclusion of the name of the individual/provider in the RMQP; and
  11. Any other action that should be taken.


  • Inform the OCTO of any suspected cases of qualification misrepresentation involving qualifications that they quality assure or providers they have accredited on behalf of the OCTO, within 5 working days of them becoming aware of them; and
  • Render the necessary assistance to the OCTO in the latter’s investigation of the cases.


  • Investigate and confirm cases of misrepresentation that are reported directly to it or by the DHET and decide on the course of action to be taken;
  • Confirm the findings of qualification misrepresentation reported by private verification
  • agencies by adhering to the process outlined in 10.1 for QCs above;
  • Establish an Appeals Committee to consider appeals against the decision to add the name of an individual or provider to the RMQP,
  • Compile and communicate the schedule for reporting cases of qualification misrepresentation and circulate it to QCs, private qualification verification bodies and the DHET;
  • Co-ordinate the actions of all involved in this process;
  • Act as a sounding board to the QCs on challenging cases;
  • Manage the process of appeals lodged by individuals I providers whose names appear in the RMQP,
  • Maintain the RMQP by entering and removing information as required;
  • Provide the Minister bi-monthly, with an updated RMQP,
  • Receive information from the Department of Justice, about individuals and providers who have been convicted of qualifications fraud;
  • Maintain the Register of Fraudulent Qualifications by entering and removing names of offenders as per the court rulings; and
  • Provide the updated Register of Fraudulent Qualifications to the Minister bi-monthly.


The procedure for QCs to deal with alleged cases of qualification misrepresentation is as follows:

(i)        Details of the case of suspected qualifications misrepresentation is entered in the

relevant QC’s List of Misrepresented Qualifications;

(ii)        The CEO will appoint a staff member to investigate the case;

(iii)        The CEO (or his/her designate) will inform the qualification holder and applicant that an investigation of qualification misrepresentation is being conducted, giving the details of the alleged offence and requesting further information from the individual and/or provider to assist in the investigation;

(iv)        The case is investigated and the information from the qualification holder/applicant

/provider is considered;

(v)       A report with supporting documents is submitted to the CEO for consideration; (vi)              The CEO makes a decision on the matter. The decision could be that:

  • The individual is innocent and the investigation is closed;
  • There is insufficient evidence for a finding of misrepresentation so the investigation is closed;
  • The individual is an innocent victim of circumstances beyond his/her control and the

investigation is closed;

  • The individual is an innocent victim of unscrupulous provision by a provider and therefore is not guilty of misrepresentation, but the provider is. The provider’s name is recommended to SAQA for addition to the RMQP,
  • The individual obtained his/her qualification from a degree mill and is therefore

guilty of misrepresentation and his/her name is recommended to SAQA for inclusion in the RMQP, or

  • The individual and/or provider is guilty of misrepresentation and their names are

recommended to SAQA for inclusion in the RMQP.

(vii)        The CEO informs the relevant individual/provider of the outcome of the investigation and, where applicable, of the recommendation that their names be added to the RMQP,

(viii)        The individuals/providers are made aware that they may appeal to SAQA against the

outcome and are directed to the Appeals Process that should be followed; (ix)             Details of the misrepresentation are submitted to SAQA ;

(x)        Supporting documents are filed for possible future reference and sent to SAQA in cases where appeals have been lodged with SAQA;

(xi)       Individuals/providers who were found to have misrepresented qualifications must be reported by the CEO to the SAPS for further investigation and possible prosecution; and

(xii)       A recommendation is made to DHET to withdraw registration of the provider if



SAQA is involved in the process in the following ways:

  •  Investigating alleged cases of misrepresented qualifications that are reported directly to it or which it becomes aware of;
  • Recording the cases of misrepresented qualifications reported to it by the QCs and
  • other departments and agencies;
  • Considering appeals lodged by individuals/providers whose names appear on the
  • RMQP, and
  • Maintaining the RMQP as well as the Register of Fraudulent Qualifications and reporting regularly on its contents to the Minister: HET.

Investigating cases of alleged qualification misrepresentation

This process is the same as that followed by the QCs.

Managing incidents of misrepresented qualifications reported to it by the QCs

  • When SAQA receives its bi-monthly report from the QCs:
  • Details of the individual/provider will be entered into the RMQP, and
  • A report is generated for the Minister: HET for publication in the Government
  • Gazette.

Hearing appeals

The appeals process is as follows:

(i)      An appeal against the decision must be submitted to the SAQA CEO in writing within

60 days of the date on the letter sent by the relevant CEO of the QC informing them

of the decision. The appeal should contain the necessary support documentation. (ii)            SAQA has an existing Appeals Committee.  The CEO of the relevant QC will be

invited to provide additional information for appeals involving investigations conducted by that QC, where necessary.

(iii)       Acknowledgement of receipt of the appeal must be made to the appellant within 48 hoors of receipt.

(iv)       The Appeals Committee must meet within 30 days of receipt of the appeal.

(v)       The Appeals Committee may request the appellant or anyone else deemed necessary to make representation either in writing or in person to the Committee.

(vi)       The decision of the Appeals Committee must be communicated in writing to the

appellant within 3 days of the decision being taken. The appellant must also be infcrmed that a final appeal may be made to the Minister: HET whose decision will be final.

(vii)        Should an appeal be lodged with the Minister: HET, the decision of the Minister: HET

must be conveyed to SAQAwho will implement the decision.

Maintaining the Register of Misrepresented Qualifications and  providers operating outside of the NQF (RMQP) and  reporting to the Minister: HE.T

  1. The names of individuals/providers who have misrepresented qualifications are entered into the RMQP.
  2. The Register is updated bi-monthly as information is received from QCs.
  3. The Register of Fraudulent Qualifications is updated as information is received from SAPS
  4. with respect to cases finalised and sentences handed down in a court of law.
  5. Both Registers are provided to the Minister bi-monthly and published on SAQA:s website.


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Originally posted 2017-01-14 20:33:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter