Shivambu's tips for obtaining a real qualification

Floyd Shivambu now has a master's degree. It's an actual qualification, and so we wondered what advice he'd give to those who wished they had a degree. (David Harrison, M&G)

Floyd Shivambu now has a master's degree. It's an actual qualification, and so we wondered what advice he'd give to those who wished they had a degree. (David Harrison, M&G)

Floyd Shivambu might have flipped the bird at Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa a few months back in Parliament, but one can undoubtedly learn a few good things from the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) chief whip. 

Shivambu recently obtained his master’s degree in political science at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits), and his research report was titled: “South Africa’s negotiated transition from apartheid to an inclusive political system: What capitalist interests reigned supreme?”

It sounds like a mouthful, and it probably is – but that’s what you get when you work hard for your achievements, instead of just “claim” them.

Reports have been rife recently about other South African top dogs who have done a lot less work and faked their qualifications. 

Perhaps we could offer some guidance to people such as “Dr” Pallo Jordan, Ellen Tshabalala and Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Let’s take a look at some tips for these unqualified leaders: 

1. If you have a fake degree, don’t draw attention by writing papers 
Former ANC MP Pallo Jordan resigned earlier this year as a member of Parliament and the ANC after the Sunday Times reported that Jordan, who is widely acclaimed for his intellectual writings, appears to have never even finished university – despite his official government CV suggesting he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the London School of Economics. He did study at the university, but didn’t graduate.

Intellectual writings are for actual intellectuals, which means super intelligent people are likely to read it. If you’re not qualified, why the hell would you continue to do it!? C’mon, you had a fake doctorate, you should know better than that.
Keep your head down, move in the shadows and hope you don’t get caught. But you did, so thanks for nothing, Pallo.

2. You actually have to study, Ellen. Shortcuts are for the ruling party 
SABC board chairperson Ellen Tshabalala claimed she had a BCom degree from the University of South Africa and a postgraduate degree in labour relations, but Unisa denied Tshabalala was awarded a degree. Even though Tshabalala had registered for a BCom degree in 1988, and again in 1996, she failed to obtain the qualification. During the academic year, she passed two, failed two, and did not write exams for two of the modules. In January 1996, she was allowed to rewrite the two she could not write the previous year. 

With 13% for your human resources module and 35% for labour relations, clearly you weren’t burning the midnight oil for this degree, Ellen. Furthermore it would help if you actually pitched up to write the exams. Just saying. Use it, don’t use it.
Admit, when you’ve done wrong and move on. I for one think you have a lot in common with Number One.

3. Either you have a matric or you don’t. What is it Hlaudi? Don’t make us test you
SABC chief operations officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng was investigated by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela for fraudulently misrepresenting his qualifications to the SABC, including that he had passed matric when he applied for employment. Madonsela said allegations that Motsoeneng committed fraud by stating in his application form that he had completed matric at Metsimantsho High School in QwaQwa were also substantiated. 
“By his own admission, Mr Motsoeneng stated in his application form that he had passed matric, filled in made-up symbols in the same application form, and promised to supply a matric certificate to confirm his qualifications when he knew he did not have the promised certificate, [this] was admitted by him during an interview.”

Now, where do we start, Hlaudi? Going to a school in QwaQwa is no excuse. We all have our skeletons. But if you have to fake matric just to get by in life, well you can only spiral out of control from there. Props to you though for hanging in there and assuming the Iron Throne at Auckland Park and killing the Generations cast. Hint: When making up symbols, make them believable. I mean an ‘E’ for South Sotho? What are you, Shangaan?
Go back to school and get your matric, Hlaudi. It’s the right thing to do. Geddit?

Sthembiso Sithole

Sthembiso Sithole

Sthembiso Sithole is a social media specialist. He recently studied BA Honours in Journalism and Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. In 2014, he obtained his journalism qualification at Tshwane University of Technology. He has achieved so much, and there are tons more he dreams of accomplishing. He has written for The Star, was a blogger for JournTau, worked at SABC as a Digital News Producer and was formerly the Mail & Guardian's social media editor.
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