Authority ‘verified dodgy doctorate’

2011-08-05 07:15

Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) is claiming that the SA Qualifications Authority (Saqa) verified the controversial doctorate of its newly appointed vice chancellor last year.

TUT’s corporate affairs and marketing director Moatlhodi Dilotsotlhe said last night that TUT had verified Professor Johnny Molefe’s doctorate in business administration from the St George University International (SGUI) with Saqa on June 28 last year.

Earlier this week, Professor John Volmink, who headed a task team investigating Molefe’s qualifications, said when Molefe presented his qualifications he included a 2007 certificate of evaluation Saqa had issued in error.

However, Dilotsotlhe dismissed Volmink’s claims that the evaluation certificate had been included with Molefe’s qualifications as “untrue and misleading”.

He said TUT had engaged the services of an independent service provider to handle the verification process. “The service provider then verifies a qualification with Saqa. In the case of Professor Molefe, the verification was done on 28 June 2010, and no exception was made in his case.”

He said Volmink had resigned for personal commitments from the university’s council and task team before it had completed its task. Molefe reportedly obtained his doctorate from SGUI in the Bahamas in 2002.

On Wednesday, Saqa’s deputy executive officer Joe Samuels said the erroneous 2007 certificate was revoked in a registered letter to Molefe in May 2007.

Saqa had requested the return of the certificate, which it never received. “We made a mistake in 2007. It was an honest mistake by Saqa,” said Samuels.

He pointed out there was an accredited St George’s University in the island nation of Grenada in the West Indies, but that SGUI in the Bahamas was “dubious”.

Samuels said: “Professor Molefe already knew in 2007 (that his doctorate was not from an accredited institution). He has not returned the certificate.”

Samuels said Volmink’s task team had approached Saqa, and the authority then issued a report to the task team on Molefe’s qualifications. A statement released by the TUT council after Molefe’s appointment last Friday said: “The aforesaid qualification was further evaluated by other professionals at various universities who found that it met the requirement of a PhD.”

The statement did not say which universities and made no mention of Saqa’s June 2010 verification.

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