South Africa


DA Western Cape chief Bonginkosi Madikizela does not have a BCom degree, as publicly claimed

DA Western Cape chief Bonginkosi Madikizela does not have a BCom degree, as publicly claimed
The DA's Bonginkosi Madikizela. (Photos: Gallo Images / Rapport / Jaco Marais) | Wikipedia

The DA’s Western Cape leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, does not hold a BCom in Human Resource Management – despite claiming this in his official biography. The DA has admitted it never vetted his qualifications.

When former Western Cape premier Helen Zille introduced the members of her first Cabinet in 2009, she stated that her Housing MEC, Bonginkosi Madikizela, “has obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Human Resource Management”.

Eleven years later, Madikizela is now the leader of the DA in the Western Cape, and the claim that he has a BCom degree has been repeatedly and publicly made. The claim is also contained in Madikizela’s official biography on the Western Cape government website. On Monday, Madikizela told Daily Maverick’s Rebecca Davis over the phone that he had received the degree from Unisa.

The conversation with Madikizela came after several weeks of unsuccessfully trying to obtain a copy of his CV. Following a tip-off that Madikizela may have falsified his qualifications, Daily Maverick journalists had asked his office, his private secretary and his mayoral campaign manager on five occasions for his CV.

After one such inquiry, Madikizela phoned Daily Maverick’s Victoria O’Regan to demand why she wanted to see his CV. Madikizela directed O’Regan to the biography on the Western Cape government website.

Madikizela’s staff said that they did not have a copy of his CV and had no information about his qualifications. The secretary of the Western Cape provincial legislature, Romeo Adams, told Daily Maverick that he could not supply a copy of Madikizela’s CV as the information was not on record.

After further persistence, Madikizela told Davis in a phone call on Monday that he obtained his BCom from Unisa in 1999 and had subsequently also earned an IT diploma from the National Institute of Information Technology, which we presume is this Indian-based organisation.

Hours later, in a startling turnaround, Madikizela messaged to say: “I’ve noticed on my bio the (unfinished) is not on. I didn’t complete my BCom degree, I thought I should clarify that.”  

An hour later, he messaged again: “My original CV clearly indicated (unfinished) because I didn’t complete my degree. I realized that on my bio that is not clarified”.

The idea that Madikizela was unaware that since 2009 it has been on public record that he had earned a BCom is implausible.

Daily Maverick asked DA Federal Council leader Zille why she had publicly introduced Madikizela as holding a BCom in 2009, when this was not true.

Zille replied that she had relayed the information Madikizela had given her at the time.

“This happened 11 years ago. When my office prepared a statement on the Cabinet choices, we used the CVs received from the candidates. We accepted at face value what they told us.”

Asked by Daily Maverick how Madikizela’s claim to have obtained a BCom could have survived party vetting, Zille replied:

“At that stage the verification of qualifications was not a routine matter, as it is today.”

This raises the question of how many within the DA may have inflated their CVs without consequences to date.

Since President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the amended National Qualifications Framework Act into law in 2019, it has been a criminal offence to lie about your credentials.

National DA spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube explained to Daily Maverick that during Madikizela’s current application process to become Cape Town mayor, any problems with his qualifications would have been unlikely to be flagged either.

Gwarube said that because a degree is not one of the criteria for mayoral candidates, the party’s vetting panel “would not necessarily have gone further into the post-matric qualifications of candidates”.

Indeed, the irony of Madikizela’s apparent deception is that he did not require any qualification above matric for any of the DA posts he has held, making the claim to hold a BCom seemingly unnecessary.

As of Tuesday evening, there was no indication from the DA that the party intended to investigate the matter or take any action against Madikizela, despite having attention drawn to the issue by Daily Maverick.

This is in stark contrast to the DA’s approach to similar qualifications scandals involving members of the ANC and government.

When ANC veteran Pallo Jordan was exposed in 2014 as not having the doctorate he claimed, erstwhile DA Chief Whip in Parliament John Steenhuisen said: “Given the current controversy surrounding Jordan, his resignation is in the best interests of Parliament, his party and himself.”

Steenhuisen added that the DA “cannot condone Jordan’s dishonesty with regards to his academic qualifications”.

In 2015, when it was revealed that South Africa’s ambassador to Japan, Mohau Pheko,  did not have the degree she claimed, the DA called for her “immediate recalling and suspension”, saying that “nothing less than a full parliamentary inquiry into this international blunder is needed”.

In both these instances, neither Pheko nor Jordan actually required the degrees they lied about in order to win their posts, making their situations analogous to Madikizela’s.

If the DA continues to take no action against Madikizela, questions are bound to be asked about why his treatment appears so different to those of others within the party accused of similar offences. When the then Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga’s chief of staff, Marietha Aucamp, was revealed to have claimed a BTech degree she did not actually possess in 2018, Aucamp was placed on special leave pending an investigation and subsequently asked to resign.

This was despite the fact that Aucamp, too, did not actually require a BTech for her position, with the City of Tshwane clarifying:

“While it’s advantageous for the candidate to be in possession of the required qualification, it doesn’t preclude a candidate in the political office to be considered for the position without having the relevant qualification, as what is required is experience and grasp of local government.”

The revelation about Madikizela comes in the same week that the DA released a statement expressing alarm about the fact that “nearly 35% of senior managers employed by national and provincial departments do not have the required qualifications and credentials for the positions they currently occupy”. DM

Update at 13.45 pm on April 14, 2021: 

On Wednesday, 14 April DA Federal Council chairperson, Helen Zille announced that the matter would be investigated by the DA’s Federal Legal Commission.  “The DA notes, with concern, the allegation that the CV of Bonginkosi Madikizela, the party’s Western Cape leader, claims a qualification that he does not hold. The DA regards this in a serious light and will follow due process in establishing the facts and taking consequent follow-up action,” said Zille. 

ANC leader of the opposition in the Western Cape Legislature, Cameron Dugmore said in a statement that he will call on Premier Alan Winde to suspend Madikizela “pending an investigation by the Legislature Conduct Committee into the MEC’s allegedly fraudulent CV”. 

Dugmore added that he had written to the Chair of the Conduct Committee in the legislature, Hon Daylin Mitchell on Wednesday morning requesting that Mitchell convenes the committee to investigate the allegations.

The Good party secretary-general, Brett Herron, also called on Winde to remove Madikizela from office, adding the allegations against Madikizela raise “serious questions” about the selection and vetting of leaders in the DA.



Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Gerhard Pretorius says:

    Do the most honourable thing by doing a disappearing trick, Madikizela. And if he doesn’t resign, would the DA look the other way about this lie? We are watching and waiting. The story also highlighted the low entry level for politicians. No wonder SA is in such a mess.

  • Karl Sittlinger says:

    While the country is in a pandemic, being robbed blind by the ruling party, an ex president that miraculously can treat the courts any way he pleases, a secretary general that is more akin to the mafia than any thing else, let’s focus on one guys BCOM…

    • Gerhard Pretorius says:

      I think the point is to focus on sound human values, such as integrity, honesty, transparency, respect. Without it our planet will forever remain the hostile and undesirable habitat it is.

      • Karl Sittlinger says:

        Absolutely…but some crimes would require more urgent treatment than others based on the damage they do if there are limited resources. Currently, I think there are whales to fry compared to this little sardine. Unless of course this is a political article rather than one about general integrity.

        • Gerhard Pretorius says:

          The size of the sardine and the whale is different; the underlying principle, however, remains the same. Should this individual hypothetically become the president we would all kick ourselves by not nipping his dishonesty in the bud.

        • Bruce MacDonald says:

          Let me take a flyer here, Karl: you are a DA supporter, and not an ANC cadre.

    • Nick Griffon says:

      It’s about a principle Carl
      The DA cannot jump on any ANC cadre who lied about qualifications and allow this to slide.
      They HAVE to act and act swiftly to continue to walk the moral high ground.
      Why did he lie? It is so easy to check this these days.

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      A lies and evades. B lies and evades. SA – (A+B) I say. This is not an either or scenario.

  • Peter Oscroft says:

    Of course, Madikizela should be censured for not completing his degree, but it boggles my mind that the Maverick wastes so much talent and time to research such a minor issue when the rest of the country, the SOEs, the C19 procurement issues, etc are in flames. I’m canceling my subscription-bye bye

    • Gerhard Pretorius says:

      It’s about principles, Peter. If the DA let this allegedly low-key incident goes by, what else are they going to ignore? Public trust becomes an issue, the party’s integrity, its credibility, etc. And you expect me to bow when they may have to speak on my behalf in future. I don’t think so. Go well.

      • Glyn Morgan says:

        Right Gerhard, it is about principles. Now does the Daily Maverick give the Loyal Opposition parties any coverage compared to the ANC or EFF? I do not consider the EFF as “loyal opposition” due to their fascist actions. Madikizela should be given blast and he should withdraw from the CT Mayor race.

      • Glyn Morgan says:

        Right Gerhard, it is about principles. Has Rebecca Davis ever said a good thing about Cape Town? Or how the DA is running the Western Cape compared to the other provinces? No! So, YES, sensure Madikizela but lets get some balance in the DM.

        • Gerhard Pretorius says:

          I do not know if DM is biased. A proper content analysis may show the truth. I do know, however, that the quality of its reporting is world-class. Its purpose of intent is uncovering the truth. Be greatful that the DA does not enjoy a lot of publicity on the DM pages.

          • Glyn Morgan says:

            Right, it is world class. Mostly. IF it is always world-class there would be balanced reporting. Giving all sides some time, as would be expected in a free democracy. Where are the “all sides”? As for Madikizela he MUST be censured by the DA Top Brass. Where are the pro-DA articles? The Truth!

      • Peter Oscroft says:

        Thanks Gerhard, we’re totally in agreement about principles, all at an appropriate level. Consider censure, an apology, forgiveness and then let us move on, living in probably the best run city and province on the continent. I’m not leaving, just distressed by the misdirection of talent and time

    • hilton smith says:

      i’ll double mine then. if a standard is to be standard it should be applied regardless of who is in breach.

  • Alley Cat says:

    Just reinforces my long held opinion that ALL politicians are crooks / liars etc.
    Waiting for our resident online DA supporter / promoter to comment??

    • J.F. Aitchison says:

      Glyn Morgan???

    • Glyn Morgan says:

      Absolutely! IF the Daily Maverick believes in DEMOCRACY they should give fair coverage to ALL parties. Has the DM given the Good Party a negative report for allowing their “leader” to serve in the ANC Cabinet?

      Principles MUST be applied evenly in a democratic country.

      • Gerhard Pretorius says:

        It is not the function of the media to give ‘fair’ coverage, but to reveal the truth about public issues. They do not exist to serve someone else’s goals. DM has set itself the goal of uncovering the truth. They are succeeding wonderfully.

        • Paddy Ross says:

          ‘Fair’ is synonymous with ‘truth’ when reporting on political issues. DM hardly ever reports on the DA’s successful government of Cape Town and of the Western Province. I would bet a pound to a penny that the DA will deal with Madikizela’s dishonesty in an appropriate manner.

    • Glyn Morgan says:

      Just one question…. Do you WANT an ANC government to rule till the cows come home? Do you have an alternative? If so, grow some and state your alternative. Otherwise, we are stuck with the ANC thanks to non-thinkers.

      Rebecca Davis and Victoria O’Regan reading in – What is YOUR take on democracy.

      • Gerhard Pretorius says:

        I am not sure to whom the question is addressed. The answer is simple. The party that can maintain the moral highground and meet the expectations of a country’s citizens will get my vote. Unfortunately, the morality of most politicians suck and must be constantly watched.

      • Alley Cat says:

        Hobson’s choice Glynn.
        DA is the best of a bad bunch, but I still don’t trust ANY politicians.. BTW, my pair is fully grown.

  • Kanu Sukha says:

    The bane of being married (not the mob!)to a specific political party should be quite evident in reactions this article has elicited. The belated clarification of the situation by Madikizela notwithstanding, we should remember that UNISA is a correspondence institute & it got lost in translation!

  • John Bestwick says:

    Up to you Mr.Madikezela. A full humble apology and or stand down is your choice. Personally i dont care which if you actually doing your job.

  • Graeme J says:

    As a matter of interest, I’d like to know just how much of the BCom degree he actually finished.

  • Brian Cotter says:

    I would hope he left in his final year last term and not first year first term to earn unfinished status. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. You are the weakest link. Bye bye.

  • Jamie WHITELAW says:

    Clearly he lied. He must go. Surely by this time all political parties should have checked the claims of their senior members. I feel sorry for the DA. They mean so well and have so many really good people in their ranks but still allow things like this to happen.

  • Ann Bown says:

    Did he lie deliberately or was this an exaggeration by the DA/PR department to make the story more interesting? Such a shame as he is a good politician – a big loss to the DA if he goes. Also can’t help wondering if this was investigative journalism or just plain snitching Daily Maverick?

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