Yes, South Africa’s new police minister does have a master’s degree

Comments 12

A Democratic Alliance MP has claimed that South Africa’s new police minister dropped out of high school and has “no further education”. Only part of the claim is true.

South African police minister Nathi Nhleko has a Master’s degree from Leeds Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom, contradicting a claim by a Democratic Alliance MP that he “left school somewhere in Standard 9 [and] has no further education”.

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard raised the issue of Nhleko’s academic qualifications during the debate on his first budget vote speech as police minister on Monday.

“I looked at his slim CV,” she said, “and it took me a while to dig out some background information.

“He seems, from what I have seen, to have left school somewhere in Standard 9, has no further education – yet he mysteriously ended up as the [Director General] for Labour.” (That was the position Nhleko held until his appointment as police minister earlier this year.)

Qualification claims in the spotlight

Kohler Barnard’s comments come in the wake of damaging revelations about the CVs of a number of prominent public figures in South Africa.

Earlier this year Africa Check reported  that an official “profile” of Thandi Modise – then the premier of North West province and now the chairwoman of the National Council of Provinces – was riddled with false claims and inaccuracies.

In February, South Africa’s Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the head of the country’s state broadcaster, the SABC, had fraudulently misrepresented his qualifications.

And, more recently, the City Press newspaper reported that SABC chairwoman, Ellen Tshabalala, had also lied on her CV.

Nhleko does have ‘further education’

South Africa's minister of Police Nathi Nhleko. Photo: GCISIn response to Kohler Barnard, Nhleko insisted that he had a “masters in leadership and change management with the Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK” and “a national diploma in labour law at an honours level with the Graduate Institute of Management and Technology”.

Today he sent Africa Check certified copies of  his qualifications from Leeds Met – as the university is more commonly known – and the Graduate Institute.

A Leeds Met press officer also confirmed today that Nhleko had been awarded a master’s degree in “leadership and change management” on 21 June 2012.

(Note: Applicants for the Leeds Met degree should have “a second class honours degree or have equivalent experience or training”. But provision is also made for “mature students” who “demonstrate academic potential”.  According to the university’s website: “We usually require some evidence of recent academic study, for example completion of an access course, however relevant work and life experience may also be considered.”)

Nhleko’s labour law diploma is dated 20 April 2007.

The Graduate Institute of Management and Technology (GIMT) however no longer exists and has been “de-registered” from the Department of Higher Education and Training’s register of private higher education institutions. The company itself appears to have been liquidated.

Nhleko didn’t finish high school

Kohler Barnard was correct in one respect. Nhleko didn’t finish high school. His spokesman, Musa Zondi, said today that the minister had not completed his matric.

A copy of Nhleko’s detailed nine-page CV  – which Zondi forwarded to us – states that he attended Amangwe High School from 1982 to 1986, the year in which the apartheid government’s “State of Emergency” was at its height. It notes that he failed matric twice and did not sit the exam a third time because he had been “detained without trial”.

Asked how she had concluded that Nhleko “has no further education”, Kohler Barnard told Africa Check she had relied on a profile published on the Who’s Who Southern Africa website.

“I typed in ‘Nathi Nhleko CV’ and I looked at the first CV that came up. It only listed one entry under his educational qualifications.” That entry is for Amangwe High School.

Differing versions of Nhleko’s qualifications appear on various websites.

A LinkedIn profile, for instance,  lists his academic achievements as: “Ziphozonke Secondary and Amangwe High Schools, Leeds University, and Global Management Technologies… Master’s degree, Leadership and Change Management.”

However, his official government biography states only that Nhleko “holds a diploma in labour law from the Graduate Institute of Management and Technology” and makes no mention of his schooling or master’s degree.

Conclusion: Claim that Nhleko has ‘no further education’ is false

Kohler Barnard was wrong to claim that Nhleko has “no further education”. Leeds Metropolitan University has confirmed that he was awarded a master’s degree in 2012. And Nhleko has produced certified copies of his master’s degree and a labour law diploma.

She was however correct that he did not complete high school. Nhleko openly admits that he failed matric twice and did not complete a third attempt because,  he says,  he had been detained without trial in 1986, the year the apartheid government’s brutal State of Emergency was at its height.

Edited by Peter Cunliffe-Jones

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Comment on this report

Comments 12
  1. By Amanda Watson

    Simply because someone does not have the ‘relevant qualifications’, does not mean the person is unable to do the job.
    The biggest attack on the ministers character is that he does not possess a matric.
    No mention of tender fraud, criminal records, wife beating, alcoholism, child rape, rape, falsifying his credentials…you know, like a few in government at the moment.
    No, he does not have a matric certificate, so he is unfit for the job. This is the insinuation, because nowhere does the Honourable Member come right out and state it.
    There are so many people in this country who do not have the ‘relevant qualifications’ for anything, however they are intelligent, quick to learn, and have a burning desire to improve themselves.
    As one of those aforementioned people without the ‘relevant qualifications’, I take offense to the underhanded swipe at people who do not possess ‘paper’ for a job.

    Reply Report comment
    • By Jessep Kahn

      Amanda Watson, Unfortunately many positions require ‘relevant qualifications’ with “Papers” for good reason, would you appoint an Attorney if he was intelligent, quick to learn, and had a burning desire to improve himself but was unqualified, or a wannabe CPA who was a whiz with numbers ? or better still how about an unqualified Cardiologist who was a Medic in the SADF 30 years ago. – This Country is in a mess because our senior Ministers and Officials are uneducated, under qualified political appointees with fake online degrees.

      Reply Report comment
    • By Wayne

      Amanda please don’t set the bench so low. We’re already sitting on the floor in this country when it comes to qualifications for the job.

      Have you ever heard dear Jacob Zuma reading a speech? My toes literally cramp up in embarrassment.

      Reply Report comment
  2. By Jon Abbott

    If Kohler Barnard relies on information on websites, which can often be out of date, to check people’s qualifications she is likely to get a lot of things wrong. It’s a very amateur way of investigating.

    Reply Report comment
  3. By Klaus

    From report above : “But provision is also made for “mature students” who “demonstrate academic potential”. basically means you can buy your degree. Similar to the many on-line degrees available.
    Google ‘life experience degrees’ . Enough said!

    Reply Report comment
    • By Africa Check

      Actually, Klaus, it is not the same thing. Leeds Met is an established, accredited university recognised by the UK government. It is not a degree mill of the type you find on the Internet flogging “life experience degrees”. Depending on the course and the degree many reputable universities are prepared – in certain circumstances – to consider life and work experience as an entry requirement.

      Reply Report comment
  4. By Aaron

    So he did not complete his matric, has a diploma from a college that no longer exists, and completed a “masters” through a correspondence course. Pull the other one.

    Reply Report comment
  5. By Lethiwe Mlambo

    Good day Minister

    You recently released crime statistics , thank you for the report. It is not alarming to see such high figures in Honeydew area, can you please advice on immediate plan in place to reduce these high figures. Daily we hear of house breaking that continue yet , we still don’t have any police visibility.

    Reply Report comment
  6. By Susan

    I did not complete the conventional high school. However I completed level3 and level 4 business management course for 24 months. I then went on to complete another business management diploma on level 5 and then to complete another at level 6 (back in the day) I was granted access to post graduate diploma study taking in consideration work experience, life experience including charity work was found to be competent to complete a post grad diploma did so at level 8 and is now enrolled for MBA at level 9 locally and also has only two modules left on Msc from respected accredited university in Scotland.

    My question to Dianne Kohler Barnard is just because I did not complete high school, does it make me unqualified because the colour of my skin is not white??? Because I think that is your problem, bottom line.

    Reply Report comment

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