South Africa: Credentials, Power and Authority - Why Officials Are Tempted to Make False Qualification Claims


Regular squabbles about whether a politician has degrees and diplomas (and whether they should confess to muddying the waters about their education) mean there must be a better way. Let's do some thinking about this one.

South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has suffered a series of recent public embarrassments as a clutch of its senior figures, including its national leader, John Steenhuisen, a party provincial head or two and yet other members of Parliament such as Natasha Mazzone, have had their claimed academic credentials -- or the lack of them -- called into public question about whether they are well-enough educated for national leadership.

While these occurrences have made headlines, bruised egos, rubbished reputations in many eyes, and even forced a sullen withdrawal from public office for several individuals, they have not been the only times outings over false or absent credentials have occurred in South Africa. Political figures from the governing party and others have also been forced to carry out painful public retreats from claims in their CVs -- or to issue a painful admission if they have allowed such claims to be widely circulated on their behalf.

What is it about the relationship...

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