Minister Noxolo Kiviet reported to SIU over university degree fraud
Minister Noxolo Kiviet allegedly got an honours and master’s degree from Fort Hare University without having a bachelor’s degree.
Noxolo Kiviet is sworn in to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet on 7 March 2023. Photo: Twitter/Presidency
South Africa’s new Public Service and Administration Minister Noxolo Kiviet is facing allegations of fraud, just days after assuming office in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s new Cabinet.
In an affidavit submitted to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), Kiviet is accused of obtaining her honours and master’s degrees despite not having an undergraduate qualification.
According to News24, when Kiviet registered for her honours degree, she only had a matric certificate and a short-course certificate with handwritten results.
Controversy over Fort Hare University degrees
In 2021, a scam around politicians getting degrees was uncovered at Fort Hare University. It revolved around Professor Edwin Ijeoma irregularly admitting Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane and former Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba at the university.
Ijeoma, a Nigerian economics professor, went on the run but was later arrested. In 2021, his South African citizenship was also revoked after he fraudulently claimed he was married to a South African woman.
Following the scandal, the SIU began investigating the degree scam at Fort Hare University.
Kiviet admitted without proper qualifications
The News24 report said Kiviet’s alleged degree fraud was exposed by a senior official at the university.
“There’s no proof either that the candidate [Kiviet] was accepted at honours through RPL [Recognition of Prior Learning]. The candidate applied for Hons and was admitted without NQF level 7 or its equivalence or RPL, registered and passed the programme. Upon completion of Hons, the candidate applied, registered, and passed MPA [master’s in public administration] and the degree was formally awarded on 7 May 2010,” reads part of the affidavit.
Kiviet told the publication that the allegations against her are “baseless and untrue”.
Kiviet is a former Premier of the Eastern Cape from 2009 to 2014. She was also the speaker of the Eastern Cape legislature.
In a statement, the EFF said Kiviet has undermined the integrity of the University of Fort Hare.
“She has offended the academic fraternity, and spat in the face of millions of young people who work hard for their qualifications and make meaningful contributions to research and the development of knowledge,” the party said.
The EFF also called for Kiviet’s immediate resignation and for her to be barred from registering at any institution of higher learning.