Lying on your CV and the law

Can I land in jail if I lie on my CV?

There is a line between showing yourself in the best possible light and deliberate misrepresentation when it comes to qualifications. Under the NQF Amendment Act, it is an offence for any person to falsely or fraudulently claim to hold a qualification that is registered on the NQF or awarded by a recognised and accredited institution according to Qaqamba Moeletsi, legal consultant for Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s employment practice.

What can happen if you lie about qualifications on your CV or even social media?

If convicted in a court of law an offender could face a fine and imprisonment of up to five years – or both.

You will also be registered on the SAQA register as an offender.

What if you completed a course but later find out you aren’t on the register – or worse you, the institution isn’t registered?

SAQA is required to inform the enquirer about findings and you as the holder of the qualification can challenge the findings.

If you completed a qualification in good faith you can use this as defence if you are charged with contravening the NQF Amendment Act. The institution may in turn be charged and fined. There are severe consequences for education institutions or education skills providers who falsely claim to be registered or accredited.

Just be honest about it on your CV

  • Don’t overstate your qualifications
  • Don’t lie about incomplete degrees
  • Don’t buy it
  • Stay truthful about your skills