• By: Clarence Randall | Director | RWA Labour
The late Stephen Covey once said that the more people rationalise cheating, the more it becomes a culture of dishonesty. And that can become a vicious, downward cycle. Because suddenly, if everyone else is cheating, you feel a need to cheat, too.
It has become all too common that South Africans are misrepresenting their qualifications and employment history in their CV’s and on social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter with the aim of gaining an unfair employment appointment advantage. I can only surmise that this has become a by-product of what we have been subjected to in the media regarding these brazen “Hollywood” blockbuster style thrillers regarding the looting of state coffers without accountability or sense of wrongdoing among many. People have become less concerned with the productivity and success of their employers and prospective employers but instead subscribe to the notion of “WIFM” – What’s In it For Me.
In order to do away with this immoral practice, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act. Although signed into law in 2019, we eagerly await its effective implementation date.
The Act intentionally seeks to identify and to expose people with fake qualifications. People who are fully aware of their fake qualifications, will be prosecuted.
Employers also appoint employees on the basis and belief that the appointed person holds a certain qualification and believe that they will be competent to operate as someone with that qualification.
A person who is found guilty of such an offence will be liable for a fine or to imprisonment. Additionally, if the wrongdoer is already in the employ of a company, he/she would probably be charged and dismissed for a dishonesty-related offence.
In addition, employers may approach the High Court to recover damages they have suffered as a result of the fraudulent misrepresentation.
In the recent unreported case of PRASA vs Mshushisi Daniel Mthimkhulu where judgement was handed down during September last year, the High Court ordered a former senior employee of PRASA to pay damages to PRASA as a consequence of fraudulent misrepresentations made by him.
As a result of the fraudulent misrepresentations, the employee was remunerated at a level far higher than he would have been, had it not been for the fraudulent misrepresentations. To remedy this, PRASA instituted a claim for damages against the employee.
After assessing the loss / damage caused, the High Court awarded PRASA damages in the amount of nearly R6million.
The NQF Amendment Act seeks to formally strengthen an employer’s position when it comes to bringing to justice such chance-takers.
In conclusion, employers are not only encouraged to perform proper background checks on candidates for employment or those seeking a promotion to ensure that they don’t employ these immoral individuals but also to ask the right questions at interview level. The importance of sound employment policies regarding best hiring practice can therefore not be emphasised enough.