DA investigates JP Smith's qualifications

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City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith.
City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith.
Adrian de Kock/Netwerk24
  • The City of Cape Town's mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith is the latest DA member to become embroiled in a qualifications scandal.
  • A biography emerged which stated that Smith had an honours degree in English from Stellenbosch University.
  • The DA's Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille said the party was investigating the matter and conducting an audit of the CVs of members. 

Yet another senior DA member has come under fire over academic qualifications.

City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith has voluntarily subjected himself to a probe by the party's Federal Legal Commission.

According to media reports on Thursday, Smith's biography, which his office sent to Music Exchange conference organisers in 2019, stated that he had an honours degree in English from Stellenbosch University. However, he did not complete his degree.

READ | DA to conduct audit into CV scandal

DA Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille told News24 the allegations had not been established as facts.

"He has submitted himself to the Federal Legal Commission for this allegation to be investigated."

She added that the party was still conducting an audit of members' CVs after several high-ranking members apparently lied about their qualifications. 

"All human beings err, and allegations are made all the time in politics. The DA has strong internal institutions to deal with such allegations and get to the truth. Then there are appropriate sanctions. These processes are running their course. The DA is the only party that handles matters according to the rule of law and due process, and that is a huge advantage," Zille said.

Smith told News24 that he had asked the Federal Legal Commission to deal with the matter to ensure that the facts were established. 

Smith added:

Things never get cleared up, and I want the party to investigate. I am comfortable that I did not engage in any wrongdoing. My CV, which is on record, is correct and my CV on the council website is correct. But there was a problem with the bio my office used at that time which left off the word "incomplete" after the postgraduate qualification.

He conceded that support staff made a mistake.

"There was a genuine human error without any malice as the bio is updated from time to time. The last updated bio contains the correct information."

He added that the debate on his qualifications had one purpose - it was a smear campaign to distract him and his colleagues in the City.

ALSO READ | Degrees of separation: It's 'well known I only have matric' - Mazzone denies having legal qualifications

The City’s mayoral committee member for water and waste, Xanthea Limberg, is also under investigation by the party for allegedly misrepresenting her qualifications. 

Former DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela resigned from the party in April after it emerged that he lied about his qualifications.

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