Vice-chancellor used revoked certificate for top job

2011-08-03 13:04

Tshwane University of Technology’s newly-appointed vice chancellor Professor Johnny Molefe allegedly used a revoked evaluation certificate to apply for the university’s top job.

Professor John Volmink, who headed a task team investigating Molefe’s qualifications, said when Molefe presented his qualifications he included a certificate of evaluation that the SA Qualifications Authority had issued in error.

The qualifications authority initially issued the certificate recognising Molefe’s doctorate in business administration that he reportedly obtained from St George’s University International in the Bahamas in 2002.

The qualifications authority’s deputy executive Joe Samuels said the erroneous certificate was revoked in a registered letter to Molefe in May 2007. It had requested the return of the certificate, which it never received.

“We made a mistake in 2007. It was an honest mistake,” 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 St George’s University International in the Bahamas was “dubious”.

Samuels said: “We requested in 2007 by registered letter the return of the certificate. Professor Molefe already knew in 2007 (that his doctorate was not from an accredited institution). He has not returned the certificate.

“Since July 7 we have consistently tried to get hold of Professor Molefe. We have been unable to get hold of him.”

He said emails and telephone calls had been made and that the qualifications authority had proof of its correspondence with Molefe.

Samuels said Volmink’s task team had approached the authority, and the authority issued a report to the task team on Molefe’s qualifications.

Asked if Molefe had presented any subsequent certificate, Volmink said: “That was not presented.”

The university could not be reached for a comment today.

According to a statement released by the university council after Molefe’s appointment on Friday: “It could not be found that Professor Molefe, in submitting and using his doctoral degree committed a misrepresentation and misled his employers.”

Yesterday, Business Day quoted former university council member Dr Adele Gordon as saying a task team investigated Molefe’s qualifications in 2007.

It reported that no local or international body was willing to recognise his doctorate from St George’s, which no longer existed.

In its statement the university council however 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. Even without the doctorate Molefe “had more than enough qualifications”.

Volmink said from the documentation he was provided when he headed the task team, Molefe had no other doctorate from an accredited institution.

The advertisement for the vice chancellor position reads: “A doctoral qualification is a prerequisite.”

Volmink and Gordon quit the university council’s handling of Molefe’s application for the top job, with Gordon telling Business Day: “It’s a ridiculous situation; he should not have been considered (as vice-chancellor).”

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