John Steenhuisen speaks at the Cape Town Press Club on the current challenges facing the Democratic Alliance. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

Durban - John Steenhuisen’s lack of a post-matric qualification has once again become a bone of contention after he succeeded Mmusi Maimane as the Democratic Alliance's leader in the National Assembly.

Steenhuisen’s education first came to light last year when the party’s KwaZulu-Natal caucus called for a Chief Whip to be in possession of a university degree while Steenhuisen only has obtained a Matric certificate at Northwood Boys High School in Durban 26 years ago.

With Steenhuisen elevated to the position of the party’s parliamentary leader on Sunday, Twitter could not help but awaken the ghosts of his lack of a post-matric qualification. Many Twitter users said that had it been a black leader, there would have been a much bigger outcry. 

Under the hashtag #WhitePrivilege Sharné Zoë (@Zoe_SZi) posted: “You guys laugh at John Steenhuisen for not having a degree. Just watch that new Afrikaans University or some other white university award him an honorary degree/doctorate in politics. Save this tweet.”  

Kenosi (@Kenosi101) posted: “Only in South Africa where a black Masters degree holder gets replaced by someone with a Grade 12 because of the colour of his skin.”  

Imizwayami (@ceoMarvellous), wrote: “Why always White men get managerial positions without qualifications. #JohnSteenhuisen.” 

Albert M (@Mabitsela_Ali) wrote: “Black people defending John Steenhuisen but they use to make jokes about Hlaudi, Julius and Zuma. Forget about white people defending Steenhuisen they defend each all the time. After all they defended that PA that was earning more than R500k without matric.”   

This was in reference to former City of Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga’s former chief of staff Marietha Aucamp who was found by an investigation by the city’s Independent Chief Audit to have lied about her qualifications. She claimed to have boasted about having a B-Tech degree while there were suggestions that she only had matric. 

Political Bureau