Leader of the opposition in the legislature, Cameron Dugmore (ANC) and his counterpart on the city council Xolani Sotashe outside Cape Town Central Police Station. Picture by Mwangi Githahu/Cape Argus
Leader of the opposition in the legislature, Cameron Dugmore (ANC) and his counterpart on the city council Xolani Sotashe outside Cape Town Central Police Station. Picture by Mwangi Githahu/Cape Argus

DA’s meritocracy questioned as ANC lodges fraud complaint over JP Smith’s qualifications

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Jun 15, 2021

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Cape Town - As the ANC lodged a complaint of fraud against Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith, at Cape Town Central police station for allegedly misrepresenting his qualifications on his CV, political analysts have called the DA’s claims of being a meritocracy and its principle of non-racialism into question.

Political scientist Ntsikelelo Breakfast said: “The party is not being honest about how they are handling the qualifications issue, and it smacks of racism. It seems if you are black you are treated one way, and if you are white you are treated another.”

Political analyst Shingai Mutizwa-​Mangiza said: “The DA has always categorically stated that it champions meritocracy over other modes of selection such as quotas etc., and has said this is consistent with its liberal principles. Clearly this is not the case.”

The leader of the opposition in the legislature, Cameron Dugmore (ANC), said: “We will submit an affidavit that Smith is guilty of the common-law crime of fraud. The law is very clear that you cannot make a representation of fact that has the potential to prejudice a third party. We say there are at least two occasions when JP Smith has committed an act of fraud.”

Dugmore’s counterpart at the City, Xolani Sotashe, said: “There is a set of rules for whites and another for blacks in the DA. If it was a black person who had lied about their qualifications in the City, that person would have been shown the door.

“We are not going to sit back, we’re going to fight them and expose them no matter how they intimidate us.”

Reached for comment, Smith said the claim in his CV about having an honours degree from Stellenbosch University was an error made by a support staff member.

“There is no criminal offence committed. I’ve consulted with a lawyer to confirm that. Anyone has the right to lay a complaint, but there are also repercussions for laying scurrilous or perjurious statements.

“It is inconceivable that South Africa can become a place where the criminal justice system fails to prosecute the theft of billions of rand through state capture, but can find the time to pursue an innocent error on a biographical summary made by a staff member.”

Mayor Dan Plato said the DA continued to be the country’s most diverse party, and anyone saying otherwise was lying and playing cheap politics.

He said the allegations against Smith were a smear campaign with an eye to the local government elections.

“JP has willingly and voluntarily submitted himself to the DA’s Federal Legal Commission, and I trust in their processes to get to the bottom of the issue, which by all accounts appears to be a clerical error of a few years ago and which was remedied likewise years ago,” said Plato.

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Cape Argus

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