By Rory Macnamara
This recent headline made me think about the uphill battle our industry faces with unqualified people offering services for which they are not qualified to do.
The article (published in The Times on 30 January 2017) went on to state that such people “will be named and shamed”.
The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) has gazetted a draft national policy on the misrepresentation of qualifications to address what has now become an epidemic. “It proposes that the names of people or organisations that have misrepresented their qualifications be registered.”
Not sure if they realise the enormity of this task, but no one in the professions or trades can dispute that this has been a long time coming, and must be welcomed as well as supported.
Our industries have been dogged by amateurs and charlatans who have done nothing but bring shame to industries at the expense of the qualified and professional people.
Such a move provides the opportunity for qualified people to have a means to report the charlatans, which will not only raise the standards of workmanship, but also bring professions and trades back to providing an equal (or better than equal) service, rather than worrying about unqualified persons.
Will such a move be without opposition? Absolutely not! But those opposing it will in effect name and blame themselves. For too long, South Africa has been subjected to the protection of criminals at the expense of those who do right.
For too long, South Africa has been subjected to the protection of criminals at the expense of those who do right.
While the article alludes to senior politicians and business people who lied about their qualifications, the problem goes down to the very heart of industries — the people who are at the rock face and who are forced to face crooked tenders by people who are not qualified but have claimed they are.
Perhaps the policy should include those who appoint these unqualified people as well, because it clearly shows lack of attention to checking and double-checking in a country like ours where respect, honesty, and decency seem not to be in the value system.
We all operate for the benefit of the consumer to ensure they are safe and in healthy environments.
The next register should be manufacturers and suppliers who knowingly bring non-compliant products into the country at the expense of the consumer — include those who specify and install non-compliant products.
This could be quite a list, but it will certainly level the playing field.