Academic cheats with fake degrees cannot be tolerated

21 July 2015 - 02:04 By The Times Editorial

The list is endless. The damage caused to our institutions both in government and the private sector continues to take a knock. Every week we hear of senior managers and those we hold in high regard of having faked their way to the top. The issue of fake qualifications and the outright dishonesty of those who use them to secure top jobs needs special attention.It cannot be that we demand our young students invest in their education and we allow cheats to get away with their deeds.The investigation launched by Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa) confirmed allegations that its chief engineer Daniel Mthimkhulu possesses none of the qualifications he listed to secure the job.Mthimkhulu, who was lauded for being young, black and a high achiever, has taken backwards the struggle to celebrate education, especially in black communities who still deal with the legacy of Bantu education.Mthimkhulu, and those who failed to double check his qualifications, acted against our efforts to place education above all else.That is why we agree with the stance taken by the Congress of the People who yesterday laid criminal charges against former Prasa boss Lucky Montana and the suspended Mthimkhulu.The party alleges that Mthimkhulu illegally obtained his salary as Prasa's chief engineer and that Montana as the CEO of the parastatal kept quiet.For as long as there are no direct financial consequences when people are caught using fake qualifications to get jobs and rewards, we are likely to see the trend continuing.Mthimkhulu is not the last on the list of many and surely he is not the last to be caught.While the minister of higher education Blade Nzimande has taken steps to deal with a flood of fake qualifications into our system, much still needs to be done.

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