The education levels of South Africa’s top elected officials have fallen under the spotlight after it was recently highlighted that DA chief whip John Steenhuisen has no qualifications above matric.
The DA previously criticised politicians for only having matric qualifications, and has called on government officials to be replaced if their highest qualification is a matric certificate.
Former President Jacob Zuma has also received substantial criticism for his lack of tertiary education.
The DA argues that Steenhuisen’s experience makes up for his lack of qualifications, however.
Steenhuisen, meanwhile, has argued that the constitution allows citizens to represent their communities “no matter whether you are a mineworker or a brain surgeon”.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane has also defended Steenhuisen, labeling him “the finest chief whip of the opposition” in a tweet.
Critics, however, have argued that the DA’s defense of Steenhuisen is hypocritical given its stance.
Qualifications of SA’s biggest parties
To see how local parties compare when it comes to academic qualifications, we looked at their leaders.
BusinessTech recently outlined the qualifications of the highest ranking officials in South Africa’s three most popular parties – the ANC, DA, and EFF.
They discovered a range of qualifications – from the matric of ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu, to the twin masters degrees in Theology and Public Administration belonging to Mmusi Maimane.
The EFF arguably fared the best overall, with the lowest known qualification of a member of the party’s leadership being Julius Malema’s Honours degree in Philosophy.
Qualifications of all major leaders
While parties outside of the “big three” might not have as much influence, they’re still significant political players that are part of the decision making processes in the government.
The leaders of these parties, including Cope and the IFP, have various qualifications – ranging from a matric certificate to a doctorate.
The graphic below provides an overview of the qualifications of South Africa’s most popular political party leaders.