It’s that time again, folks! The 2021 Municipal Elections are nearly upon us and President Cyril Ramaphosa, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen and others are going head-to-head to get your vote. The stakes are exceptionally high and the outcome will no doubt leave a lasting impact on South Africans so it’s only fair that we know exactly what and who we’re voting for.
Our outstanding colleague, Tom Head, was nice enough to round up the salaries making their merry way into Ramaphosa, Malema and Steenhuisen’s bank accounts but what about their qualifications, if any? In no uncertain terms does a qualification makes someone smarter or better than the next but we feel it’s important to know which leaders – leaders that carry great weight – have had their noses in their books. So with that being said, let’s tuck in, shall we?
CYRIL RAMAPHOSA: WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DOES THE PRESIDENT HAVE IN THE BAG?
Mmm Cyril, let’s see what we have here…It is understood that Ramaphosa began his studies at the University of the North in 1972, where he became involved in student politics and joined the South African Student Organisation (SASO) and the Black People’s Convention (BPC).
According to the Presidency, the man who loves to call family meetings holds a law degree from the University of South Africa that was obtained in 1981.
Apart from his law degree, he has received several honorary doctorates from local and international universities such as the University of Massachusetts, the University of Cape Town, the National University of Lesotho, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of the North.
Ramaphosa also received the Olof Palme prize in Stockholm in 1987 and was awarded the National Order of the Baobab in Silver by former president Jacob Zuma for his contribution to the multiparty negotiations and for chairing the Constitutional Assembly.
JULIUS MALEMA’S QUALIFICATIONS
According to Malema’s National Assembly profile, the EFF leader graduated from Mohlakaneng High School, Seshego, Limpopo.
In 2010, he completed a two-year diploma in youth development through UNISA. In 2011 he enrolled at UNISA for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Communications and African languages, and he graduated in March 2016. Malema also holds a BA Honours degree in Philosophy – who would have thought!
Funny to think that Malema previously served as President of the ANC Youth League from 2008 until his expulsion from the party in April 2012. The very next year, in 2013, he founded the EFF.
JOHN STEENHUISEN: WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DOES THE BLUE PARTY LEADER HAVE?
According to the National Assembly, Steenhuisen was elected to the Durban City Council in 1999 at the tender age of 22 making him one of the youngest councillors in the city’s history which is pretty impressive. However, be that as it may, what qualifications does the blue party leader have?… Well, in terms of degrees, none.
Steenhuisen, who is sometimes criticised for only having a matric certificate, said in a TV interview, that he studied politics to a third-year level through UNISA. Steenhuisen, however, did not come away with a certificate of completion and he seems totally fine with it. He said nothing in those textbooks helped him or prepared him for the “real world” of politics in any case.
Steenhuisen went on to say that people like Bill Gates, Winston Churchill and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey didn’t obtain a degree either, meaning it isn’t the be-all and end-all.
It also seems that Steenhuisen isn’t the only one in the blue party that is being hounded over qualifications. Back in April, just six months ago, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde suspended Public Works and Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela from provincial cabinet after it was revealed that he does not hold the BCom qualification he claimed to have.
Shortly after Madikizela’s suspension, Chief Whip of the Opposition, Natasha Mazzone’s Wikipedia page was “updated” – and more specifically – her qualifications. It is understood that Mazzone’s bio claimed she was an advocate but shortly after the qualification saga, it was nowhere to be found.
“In 2013 Natasha Mazzone’s Wikipedia Profile had a lot of personal detail. Interesting that it includes an ambiguous reference to an LL.B degree: ‘Natasha studied an LL.B degree and also took Political Science and International Relations’. Doesn’t suggest the degree wasn’t awarded.”
GOOD party candidate for Mayor of Cape Town, Brett Herron
Mazzone, however, accused Herron of changing her Wikipedia page.
“Brett, let’s stop playing games. My Wiki page was changed THREE times today, we all know you are behind this, you’re just so used to working with GOOD you think this scum politics is acceptable, it’s not and this issue doesn’t end here,” she said.