EXCLUSIVE: JP Smith latest DA member embroiled in qualification scandal
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Cape Town - DA City of Cape Town caucus Deputy Leader, Mayco member for Safety and Security, DA Cape Metro Region Deputy Chairperson and DA Western Cape Provincial Deputy Chairperson JP Smith is the latest DA member to be embroiled in a qualification scandal.
The Weekend Argus can exclusively reveal that Smith’s biography sent by his personal assistant to the Music Exchange conference organisers where he was a guest speaker in 2019 says he has an honours degree in English from Stellenbosch University.
The Weekend Argus can also exclusively reveal that this is not true as he did not complete his honours. Also, in 2018, Smith was part of 56 speakers in the 13-day Safer Western Cape conference which discussed ways to combat crime in the province, a subject Smith is familiar with as he has more than a decade’s experience working in the municipal’s safety and security portfolio. His profile on the list said Smith has an honours degree in English from the University of Stellenbosch.
Smith quit studying as soon as he became fully active in politics.
He opted to release a full media statement to the public rather than responding to the Weekend Argus after it uncovered the information.
In the statement, he said: “My previous and current CV has at all times accurately reflected my qualifications. My highest tertiary qualification is a BA Degree which I obtained from Stellenbosch University in 1993. My CV has been verified by the DA candidate process as accurate.
This CV, submitted in early 2020, accurately reflects my tertiary qualifications with my BA degree listed as my highest completed degree. My CV is and has always been, accurately reflected on the City of Cape Town website. The CV further explicitly reflects an Honours in English as incomplete. It has been my intention to return to completing this Honours degree, but workload over the last years has made that impossible.”
The organiser of the Music Exchange conference Martin Mayers revealed that he received JP’s biography from his personal assistant and attached it for the Weekend Argus to see.
“We always ask for biographies and used what was sent to us by his personal assistant.”
Smith, unaware that the Weekend Argus is in possession of the email his personal assistant sent on his behalf, attacked the Weekend Argus, saying the paper does not prescribe to the Press Code, and is known for “incessant misinformation”.
“At some point, a clerical error was made in editing a bio by omitting the term ‘incomplete’ in relation to an incomplete Honours in English postgraduate qualification. This error must have persisted for a while some years ago until a subsequent edit update corrected it.”
He added that he has not been involved in the periodic updates and editing of bios and was not aware of the unfortunate error until alerted to it by the Weekend Argus.
“However, it is clear that there was no intention to deceive anyone on the issue, nor to benefit in any way from this, and the correct information is prominently and publicly available. Not once have I been invited to attend an event or represent the City of Cape Town on the basis of having completed an Honours degree. It is irrelevant and superfluous to the work at hand.
“When media choose to invent stories to feed an anti-DA narrative instead of reporting on real-life situations that actually require public attention, it is simply incomprehensible.”
The DA has been embroiled in a number of qualification scandals recently, and the party has taken a decision to verify qualifications of its members.
Mayco Member for Water and Waste at the City of Cape Town, Xanthea Limberg is currently under investigation by the DA’s federal council for allegedly misrepresenting her qualifications.
Former DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela resigned from the provincial cabinet after it was revealed that he misrepresented his qualifications.