DA guns for new Public Service and Administration Minister Kiviet over ‘fake’ degree



Published Mar 14, 2023


Johannesburg - The DA is preparing to submit a request in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to obtain and expose proof that the newly appointed Minister of Public Service and Administration, Noxolo Kiviet, committed degree fraud at the University of Fort Hare. This comes days after Kiviet was sworn in as a minister.

According to News24, Kiviet, who had previously served as a deputy minister in the same portfolio, is alleged to be under investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) for possible fraud involving her qualifications.

Last year, the SIU announced it would be probing all claims of maladministration at the University of Fort Hare after allegations came to light regarding the awarding of honours degrees at the institution.

Kiviet is alleged to have fraudulently obtained her honours in administration as well as a Master’s degree in public administration at the university in the Eastern Cape.

The Kiviet probe comes after Cope member Murunwa Makwarela was alleged to have forged an insolvency certificate to continue serving as Tshwane mayor.

Last year, Joburg Roads Agency CEO Tshepo Mahanuke was suspended after he was found to have fabricated his qualifications.

Other political figures who have in the past misrepresented their qualifications include Pallo Jordan, Oscar Mabuyane and former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who was found by then public protector Thuli Madonsela to have lied about his matric credentials.

In 2015, the DA revealed that as many as 640 public sector officials had misrepresented their qualifications, with the party calling for these officials to be dismissed immediately.

The DA’s spokesperson on public service and administration, Leon Schreiber, said an affidavit submitted by the university to the SIU as part of its ongoing investigation into the degree issues at Fort Hare revealed that Kiviet fraudulently enrolled for honours and Master’s degrees without having the undergraduate degree required for enrolment.

It is further alleged that Kiviet only has a matric certificate and “a non-credit-bearing short-course certificate with handwritten results”.

“It appears that Kiviet is following in the footsteps of Murunwa Makwarela, the disgraced former Cope councillor who was caught out for submitting a fraudulent document to claim that he was not an unrehabilitated insolvent shortly after being elected mayor by the ANC and EFF. In this case, Kiviet has been found out for alleged fraudulent enrolment at Fort Hare,” Schreiber said.

The EFF said these shocking reports lend credence to the recent stance taken by University of Fort Hare Vice-Chancellor Sakhela Buhlungu, who became the target of an assassination attempt after he revealed that certain high-ranking officials were involved in the awarding of fake qualifications at the institution. “These shocking reports give credence to the claims by University of Fort Hare Vice Chancellor Sakhela Buhlungu, who after an assassination attempt on his life revealed that there are 15 high-ranking politicians who are implicated in the fraudulent awarding of postgraduate qualifications at the university. One of these is the ally of President Cyril Ramaphosa and Premier of the Eastern Cape, Oscar Mabuyane,” the EFF said.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago confirmed the investigation into Kiviet, but added that the unit doesn’t issue updates on ongoing investigations unless there are outcomes.

“There’s no proof either that the candidate (Kiviet) was accepted at honours through RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning). The candidate applied for (honours) and was admitted without NQF Level 7 or its equivalence or RPL, registered, and passed the programme.

“Upon completion of honours, the candidate applied, registered, and passed the MPA (Master’s in Public Administration), and the degree was formally awarded on May 7, 2010,” the affidavit is quoted as saying.

Mabuyane, a key Ramaphosa ally, was deregistered from the university after its review of students who were supervised by Professor Edwin Ijeoma.

Before he was fired, Ijeoma was also suspended for the alleged irregular registration of former Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba for an honours degree in public administration.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, didn’t respond to queries.

When approached for comment, Kiviet’s phone was picked up by her PA, who said she had been in meetings all day and would be available after 4pm.

In 2017, Minister of Higher Education Dr Blade Nzimande promised to deal with people with bogus qualifications, saying the matter was a threat to the country’s higher education sector.

| Additional reporting by Soyiso Maliti

The Star