There’s a groot skandaal over qualifications currently engulfing the DA.
Two of the party’s most senior members are at the centre of alleged lies to do with tertiary qualifications.
The party’s Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela is currently suspended, while he is being investigated for allegedly lying about having a B.Com degree in human resources. Madikizela, who is also the province’s MEC of Public Works and Transport, could lose his jobs as a result.
Meanwhile, the party’s parliamentary chief whip Natasha Mazzone is on a PR drive to convince us that she did not in fact lie about being an advocate.
It looks like the confusion comes from the fact that she did her legal articles, but never finished her law degree.
She says it has never been a secret that she only has a matric certificate.
It’s a similar embarrassment to what her boss – the party’s national leader John Steenhuisen - suffered a few years ago.
At the time it came to light that he also had only a matric certificate.
Of course the DA is not alone when it comes to this.
We’ve had similar humiliating revelations from the ANC in the past.
And it does beg questions around the value of tertiary qualifications, whether it is something we require from our leaders and why there seems to be a need to embellish the truth of the matter.
My view is that all education is valuable and the more of it you can get, the better.
I think it’s important for people who ask us to trust them with the running of the country to have more than just a basic understanding of what is required.
It is a bitter pill to swallow for someone with a master’s degree (and the benefit of critical thinking skills that can only be learned at varsity) to be governed by a matriculant.
I worry that their success in politics and the power they wield, devalues the worth of a tertiary education in the eyes of some.
To a certain extent, it is a slap in the face of young people who have beaten extraordinary odds to get a university degree, only to find themselves unemployed and without an income.
From that point of view, and perhaps to justify their positions, I can almost understand why they may want to stretch the truth a little, or hide their lack of a university degree from the public’s attention.
The way I see it, in an ideal world, we should hold our public office bearers to a higher moral standard.
But as long as we let them off the hook for serious lapses in judgement, there will always be the ones who easily succumb to temptation when it comes to smaller ones.