Maybe we need a qualifications amnesty?

Photo: SAA Chief Executive, Nico Bezuidenhout. Financial Mail.

One of the big stories this weekend has to be the Sunday Times article revealing that South African Airways acting Chief Executive, Nico Bezuidenhout is the latest in a series of high profile executives and politicians who have been exposed for overstating their qualifications.

Bezuidenhout does not have a B.Com in transport economies and industrial psychology as well as an MBA as stated in the parastatal’s 2011 and 2012 reports.

Let’s pause for a moment and think back to recent headlines involving SABC Chief Executive, Ellen Tshabalala and respected politician, Pallo Jordan.

I suppose this is when we all collectively hit the pause button and ask critical questions about this this specter of, well, why are our officials overstating their qualifications.

I saw a tweet sometime this weekend that got me thinking, why don’t we have a qualifications amnesty period?

We’ll say if you have lied about your qualifications you’ll be given amnesty and not face prosecution for fraud provided you come clean now.

We could set a period of time in which those who own up can be given an opportunity to actually go back to university and finish their degrees, and obtain the qualifications they claim to have.

And for those who continue to lie about the issue, even after the amnesty period, should not only be fired but be made to pay back the money they earned fraudulently.

Essentially, while these seem to be a series of isolated incidents of officials faking qualifications, each incident further undermines the integrity of our qualifications.

As a nation we need to send a message to our young people that lying about, or overstating qualifications is not acceptable!