City of Cape Town Mayco member Xanthea Limberg File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
City of Cape Town Mayco member Xanthea Limberg File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

DA given an ’F’ for handling of degree scandals with focus now on Limberg, mayor

By IOL Reporter Time of article published May 6, 2021

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Cape Town – The Good party’s secretary-general, Brett Herron, has given the DA an “F” for the manner in which it has handled “DegreeGate” – but believes the “F” could also stand for something more descriptive than ’’failure’’.

He has taken the DA to task for the different manner in which it has addressed the storm around the qualifications of former DA Western Cape leader and Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone and Saldanha mayor Marius Koen. In the latest furore around a DA member’s qualifications, Herron wondered whether Xanthea Limberg, a Mayco member at the City of Cape Town, would simply be ’’blindy defended’’.

The DA's Western Cape chairperson, Jaco Londt, told EWN today: "I immediately requested that her (LImberg’s) CV be pulled from the online application platform and satisfied myself that at first glance, it appears that she didn't overstate any qualifications when applying for public office."

The Weekend Argus revealed yesterday Limberg only has certificates from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and UCT, not a degree as stated on the CV she submitted. Limberg confirmed she was in her ’’final year and will be graduating this year with a Bachelor of Arts in Policy Studies’’.

’’I also did a degree at UCT in Politics and Public Administration but didn't complete it as I applied to add another major to the degree, which I am only allowed to do on a full-time basis which my current work schedule doesn't allow,” Limberg said.

Madikizela submitted his resignation as both DA Western Cape leader and Transport and Public Works MEC after admitting he misrepresented his qualifications on his CV, claiming he had a BCom. Then the spotlight fell on Mazonne's qualifications, who does not have a degree but completed a Legal Education Development Training course and her articles.

Koen, who is considering taking legal action, has hit back in a video at comments alleging he lied about obtaining an MBA. But Herron and the ANC’s Cameron Dugmore both subsequently questioned why Koen didn’t simply hold up his degree certificate as proof in the more than four-minute video.

’’Why doesn’t Koen just hold up the degree certificate? Then the issue will easily be laid to rest,’’ Herron told IOL on Thursday.

’’Now Xanthea has apparently been caught with misrepresented qualifications. What happens now? Do they follow the Madikizela route, do they follow the Mazzone route or do they follow the Koen route? Because they’ve handled the three different qualification issues in three different ways.

’’Madikizela was suspended and investigated; Koen was investigated but not suspended; and Mazzone was neither investigated nor suspended – she was just defended.

’’Will they just blindly defend Xanthea? The qualification issue matters because these people hold public office. All of them are in government or in an executive position, or a position that entitles them to an extra salary.

’’They hold themselves up to be qualified and the DA says it chooses people on merit and that they are always fit for purpose. But it now has four different people in senior positions being paid an extra salary by the people of South Africa for qualifications that don’t add up.

’’If we are going to change the perception about politicians in South Africa, then we need to hold every politician that is dishonest accountable. We can’t only hold ANC politicians accountable.

’’There is a pervasive scepticism that it’s not possibly true when it concerns the DA. If we start holding politicians accountable for misrepresenting themselves, then we can start to fix the image of politicians and show that we are not all like that.

’’Some of us have qualifications and some of us don’t. You don’t need a qualification to be a politician and to serve people well, but if you lie and misrepresent who you are and lack integrity, then you shouldn’t serve. That is why people are sick of politicians, because of liars who get away with it.

’’I was privileged enough to be able to go to university and complete a degree and go into a profession, but then I chose to serve my country. I want people to serve out of love for their country, not because they want a job.

’’The DA is not a meritocracy, some people get into a position in the DA due to connections.’’

IOL

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