Thabi Leoka’s qualification drama ‘avoidable’


The unfavorable position in which the well-known economist Thabi Leoka now finds herself was, according to experts, her own doing, but is also something that could have been avoided if the companies involved had applied the necessary caution.

The allegations that Leoka does not have a doctorate in economics as she has led many to believe have raised questions about the various boards and companies that failed to properly check her qualifications.

The reputation expert Regine le Roux says it should be standard practice to submit a certified copy of your qualifications as a standard requirement for any position, especially for a director of large companies such as MTN South Africa and Anglo American Platinum.

“This puts a big question mark over all these large companies’ management structures and ultimately their reputation,” she says.

“This also leads me to another question: What other due diligence processes are not followed? All the companies that appointed Leoka, without the necessary investigation into her qualifications or references, must be pulled over the coals.”

Leoka recently submitted her resignation to numerous companies, and even the president removed her from his advisory board over damning allegations that she did not obtain a doctorate from the London School of Economics.

Le Roux says it has recently come to her attention that not all positions, such as that of the presidential economic advisory council, require any kind of due diligence processes.

“This is problematic in my opinion. If it’s easy enough to lie about qualifications, what else is being lied about?”

According to Le Roux, there is one good thing that has come out of this controversial situation, and that is that the spotlight falls on companies that do not apply due diligence when it comes to appointments in important positions.

“Hopefully this now encourages all businesses to review and implement more rigorous management processes across all spheres of their organizations to build ethical entities that people want to do business with,” she says.

“At the same time, this will also allow all those involved to maintain their prestige.”