Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

The shame of 40 000 missing education certificates

More than 40 000 higher education graduates have yet to receive their certificates — some years after they qualified. Engineers, artisans and business students are either unemployed, working at retail stores or about to lose the jobs they have found without their certificates.

This is a problem the higher education minister, Blade Nzimande, has failed to address since he took up his post more than 10 years ago. 

The backlog stretches to 1992, leading the minister to say in parliament that he feels “ashamed”. 

Yet former students such as Chuma Mfazwe, who is a qualified electrical engineer, cannot find a job. Mfazwe has a seasonal shop assistant job that will end in January after the festive season. She has not been able to find work as an electrical engineer because, four years after completing her studies at Buffalo City College in East London, she has not received her certificate. 

Prospective employers reject her statement of results.

“I am now using my matric certificate to get jobs in retail. I started this job last week because it is almost the festive season and the shops are busy. But in January I will go back to being unemployed,” she says. “I am at least able to buy myself toiletries.”

There’s a lot more to this story.

To continue reading, subscribe to the Mail & Guardian.

It pains us to say it, but good journalism costs money to produce, and so we have to reserve some of our stories for Mail & Guardian subscribers with paid-for levels of access to the site only. Like this one, for example.

You can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian and get access to all our stories and more at this link.

If you have a current subscription, please login here.

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and receive a 40% discount on our annual rate..

Bongekile Macupe
Bongekile Macupe is an education reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

Related stories


Subscribers only

NW Premier Mokgoro ‘meddles’ in contentious R1.5m HOD appointment

Provincial HOD hired despite implication in ‘jobs-for-pals’ probe involving former minister Faith Muthambi

Wild garlic harvesters back in court

Healers say the plant is part of their heritage, but officials counter that it is a protected species

More top stories

Public works tables ‘solutions’ to botched Beitbridge border fence tender

Scopa ‘disappointed’ by slow pace and lack of consequences on Beitbridge irregularities.

ANC resolute over its step-aside decision: Duarte

The governing party has identified 40 members charged with serious crimes who will have to step aside

New Covid-19 variant in South Africa ‘of concern at a...

The Covid-19 B.1.617 variant, first detected in India, is now listed as one of concern, but the World Health Organisation says it does not doubt the efficacy of global vaccines

Your guide to side effects: What you can expect after...

Soon, South Africa will start with its mass vaccine roll-out. We take a look at what to expect when you get vaccinated.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…