How not to become a politician

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Chief Whip Natasha Mazzone deactivated her Twitter account on Wednesday after coming under fire over questions about her qualifications. This, after one of the party’s MECs in the Western Cape, Bonginkosi Madikizela, was suspended for lying about having a B.Com degree. 

On her Wikipedia page, Mazzone was listed as an advocate, but didn’t have the LLB degree required to be one. She has a Matric and never finished her law degree. Following Madikizela’s scandal, ‘Advocate’ was quietly removed from Mazzone’s Wikipedia page. It is easily editable and she denies having anything to do with it. Mazzone said that it was a well-known fact that she only finished matric.

John Steenhuisen, the party’s leader, also has matric as his highest qualification. His black predecessor in the position, Mmusi Maimane, had a Masters degree, and the last black person in Mazzone’s role as chief whip, Lindiwe Mazibuko, had an honours degree at the time and went on to get a Masters degree from Harvard. No action has been taken against Mazzone, but Madikizela was suspended. It’s not a good look given the party’s race issues. Political experts say not having a degree is not a big issue in politics – many politicians don’t have one. But lying about having one is a problem.

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.