Bonginkosi Madikizela suspended over qualifications scandal

'I must take full responsibility but I’m disgusted by double standards,' says MEC

15 April 2021 - 12:31 By Kgothatso Madisa and Andisiwe Makinana
Western Cape transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela has been suspended for 14 days while a probe is conducted. File photo.
Western Cape transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela has been suspended for 14 days while a probe is conducted. File photo.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

Western Cape transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela has been suspended from his government job after revelations that he's been misleading the public about the status of his academic qualifications.

Premier Alan Winde announced that Madikizela would be suspended for 14 days while an investigation determines all the facts regarding his “BCom degree saga”. It emerged on Wednesday that he did not complete his degree, despite stating the contrary in his biography on the Western Cape government website.

The move spells bad news for Madikizela, who is also the leader of the DA in the Western Cape, and could put paid to his campaign to become the next mayor of Cape Town ahead of this year's local government elections.

Winde said he met Madikizela over the saga on Wednesday.

I am deeply concerned that Bonginkosi Madikizela’s biography contains information which he has accepted is not true, as well as say that he misled a journalist in this regard,” said Winde.

I met with minister Madikizela yesterday [Wednesday] afternoon, where I raised my concerns with him and asked for an explanation. During that meeting I made clear that acting with integrity is non-negotiable to me, and to the people of the Western Cape. I also made clear that I believe in fairness and due process, where all the facts are properly considered.

“I have since carefully considered the matter and have taken the decision to suspend minister Madikizela effective immediately for 14 days, while an investigation determines all the facts.”

Winde said he would make a final decision regarding Madikizela and his role in his cabinet once he has all the facts.

It is in the interests of all parties, and most importantly our residents — who deserve nothing but honesty and integrity from their government — that this matter be resolved swiftly.”

He has appointed the human settlements MEC, Tertius Simmers, to act in Madikizela's position during his suspension.

Speaking to TimesLIVE minutes after the announcement, Madikizela said he took full responsibility for the events but expressed disgust at what he said were double standards.

“I don’t want to pretend to be a victim. I must take full responsibility for this, but I’m disgusted by double standards and the motive behind this so-called exposé,” he said via text.

“It has nothing to do with principle or ethics, but an agenda to get a particular outcome for [the] Cape Town mayoral contest.”

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that Madikizela had his sights set on the Cape Town mayoral chain, saying he could do better than incumbent Dan Plato.

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