Dec 2023 edition

Issuing fake certificates is a serious criminal offence

More Matshediso

While the South African government continues to build an education system that will unleash the potential of all citizens, there are bogus institutions that continue to fraudulently grant unsuspecting victims with fake National Senior Certificate (NSC).

Umalusi, the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training that is responsible for the certification of qualifications, is warning the public that issuing fake certificates is a serious criminal offence against the State.


Umalusi is the only institution in South Africa that is mandated by law to issue certificates of learner achievement in respect of the NSC, Senior Certificate, National Certificate Vocational levels 2-4, N2-N3, and General Education and Training Certificate: Adult Basic Education and Training. No other body or person is allowed to issue any of these certificates.

The quality assurance body also warned candidates against registering to write examinations at unaccredited private centres.

In a recent statement, Umalusi said it is currently working with the South African Police Service on various cases that concern unaccredited institutions that have admitted students into non-existent programmes.

Recently, Umalusi met with senior officials from the national and provincial education departments, the Independent Examinations Board and the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute to discuss the problem.

“All parties agreed on measures to be taken to prevent the operation of illegal independent schools and ensure that examinations are only administered at independent schools accredited by Umalusi and registered as examination centres,” said Umalusi.

Recently, the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga briefed the media about various issues affecting the basic education sector.

She proudly announced that more than 717 300 candidates registered to participate in the 2023 final examinations across 6 898 centres nationwide.

“These figures are not mere statistics. They embody the aspirations, dreams, and relentless efforts of our Grade 12 learners. There has been an increase in the number of part-time learners from 168 631 in 2022 to 181 143 in 2023. A total of 207 question papers, 72 500 invigilators and 52 500 markers will drive the examinations process,” she said.

Furthermore, she said a total of 72 500 invigilators ensured the smooth conduct of the examinations, compared to 72 000 last year.

She added that Umalusi approved all question papers to be administered in the 2023 Examinations.

“We’ve enhanced security measures to prevent paper leaks in all nine provinces. The State Security Agency has also audited these processes. Provincial education departments (PED) must follow standard operating procedures and train storage point managers in these security protocols. Moreover, specific collection times for question papers by chief invigilators have been established to deter early access. Each PED has its own irregularity committee to anticipate and mitigate crises,” the Minister explained.

Members of the public are urged to visit Umalusi’s website to verify if an independent school or a private college is accredited before making a decision to register with it.


For more information, you can also visit the DBE website: or email:

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