Lies, investigation and resignation: a timeline of Bonginkosi Madikizela's qualification scandal

30 April 2021 - 07:50
By cebelihle bhengu AND Cebelihle Bhengu
Bonginkosi Madikizela has resigned as DA leader in the Western Cape. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times Bonginkosi Madikizela has resigned as DA leader in the Western Cape. File photo.

The DA on Wednesday confirmed Bonginkosi Madikizela's political journey with the party had come to end after two weeks of deliberations into his degree scandal.

Madikizela was under investigation by the federal legal commission (FLC), the DA's governing and policy-making body, after it emerged that he lied about his academic qualifications. 

Here's a timeline of events:

April 14: Investigations into the scandal

Chairperson of the federal council Helen Zille said two weeks ago the party in the Western Cape would investigate Madikizela after an article by Daily Maverick revealed that he did not finish his BCom degree, contrary to what was stated in his online biography.

Madikizela previously told a Daily Maverick journalist he obtained his degree from Unisa in 1999. Screenshots of the biography published by the publication show that Madikizela's profile stated he had a BCom in human resource management and a certificate in information technology. 

Zille said the party took the scandal seriously and would act accordingly after its investigations. 

April 15: Madikizela is suspended and steps aside as provincial leader 

Western Cape premier Alan Winde confirmed Madikizela's 14-day suspension pending an investigation into a report that he had misled the public about the status of his academic qualifications.

On the same day, Madikizela “voluntarily stepped aside” from his position as DA provincial leader. In a letter seen by TimesLIVEDA provincial chairperson Jaco Londt informed the party structures in the province that Madikizela's deputy, Albert Fritz, would act in his place for the duration of the suspension. 

April 18: Frustration over some party members

Madikizela accused some DA members of having double standards. He said no-one defended him while some party members who were accused of the same offence had the support of some in the party. 

He said the exposé into his scandal had nothing to do with doing what is right, but that it was about preventing him from running for Cape Town mayor.

Madikizela announced his candidacy three weeks ago. The position is contested by shadow finance minister Geordin Hill-Lewis and current mayor Dan Plato. 

April 19: Madikizela pleads for leniency

The former leader urged the party not to end his political career over the scandal as he had apologised and owned up to his mistake.

“I certainly hope that whatever outcome or punishment will not condemn me to the dustbin of history because I have contributed so much to the party and the department and I have made a lot of difference in people’s lives.” 

April 28: Madikizela resigns

Madikizela resigned as a DA provincial leader and provincial MEC for transport and public works. He also stepped down as an ordinary DA member of the provincial legislature but said he would stay on as a card-carrying party member.

DA Western Cape chairperson Jaco Londt confirmed Madikizela's resignation. He said the party respected his decision to take “the honourable route” by stepping down. He further added Madikizela's decision “demonstrates the difference between the DA and the ANC”.