A woman walks past the damaged Lviv National University of Nature Management

Umalusi CEO Mafu Rakometsi revealed that 11 people have been arrested in the last six months for buying and selling fake certificates.

Rakometsi shared during a media briefing on Monday that the suspects were nabbed by the South African Police Service (SAPS) on different dates since the October 2023 briefing, where the council assured South Africans that the authenticity and credibility of Umalusi certificates would be safeguarded.

The first two suspects were reportedly arrested in Burgersfort in Limpopo on Oct. 27, while another was arrested in Pretoria the following month. Three others were taken into custody on Nov. 20, while the remaining five suspects were caught in Burgersfort, Limpopo on Dec. 13.

Rakometsi shared that a Department of Higher Education and Training official was also involved in issuing a diploma certificate in exchange for cash. The said official is now facing a corruption charge.

"Police investigations are ongoing and Umalusi will continue to work closely with the law enforcement agencies in whatever way possible to ensure that the scammers or fraudsters are made to face the full might of the law," he said, as per SA News.

Rakometsi clarified that the education quality assurance body has nothing to do with fake certificates, as they are mandated to issue only authentic certificates to qualifying candidates, adding that "fake certificates are issued by scammers or fraudsters who are not employees of Umalusi."

"We advise all employers both in the public and private sectors to consider verifying their current and future employees' qualifications through the verification agencies whose contact details are available on the website of Umalusi [https://www.umalusi.org.za/]," he added.

Rakometsi then urged everyone to visit the official website, and once they reach its landing page, all they need to do is click on the Certification & Verification icon.

The federal government said earlier this year that it would withdraw the recognition of universities from Kenya, Uganda and Niger for allegedly issuing fake degrees. The decision came a day after it suspended the evaluation and accreditation of degree certificates from the Republic of Benin and Togo.

"We are not going to stop at just Benin and Togo. We are going to extend the dragnet to countries like Uganda, Kenya, even Niger here where such institutions have been set up," education minister Tahir Mamman said at that time.