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South Africa President Ramaphosa sacks adviser over alleged fake PhD



President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, | Dr. Thabi Leoka

The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has reportedly sacked an adviser and popular economist and commentator on economic affairs, Ms. Thabi Leoka, over alleged fake PhD.

Ms. Leoka, a South African economist and commentator, was relieved of her membership in the Presidential Economic Advisory Council instituted by President Ramaphosa amidst questions about her PhD qualification.

Earlier on Monday, January 22, she also resigned from the boards of two well-known companies, Mining company Anglo American Platinum Limited and MTN SA.

Anglo American Platinum Limited said Leoka stepped down from her position as a non-executive director “in order to attend to her health and the questions she has been facing in relation to her academic qualifications”.

Mobile phone company MTN SA released a similar statement relieving her of her appointment.

Leoka had claimed that she obtained her PhD from the London School of Economics (LSE), but the institution has failed to verify her degree.

She has, however, denied misrepresenting her qualification and says she has been undergoing treatment for glaucoma.

According to her, she had qualified under a different name which was why the London School was not able to find evidence of her PhD when approached by journalists.

Leoka is a prominent voice on economic issues in South Africa and has appeared on various media platforms.

She is a former board member of Netcare and Remgro and was once considered for a position at the Reserve Bank.

Responding to allegations of misrepresentation of academic credentials to the Daily Maverick, which had asked for evidence of her qualification, Leoka claimed that she had been busy and not had time to get hold of her certificate.

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“I’m not based in [South Africa] full time… I have been at the Miami Bascom Palmer Eye Hospital as I have glaucoma and have since lost sight in my right eye,” she said to the online publication.

Meanwhile, when asked on a local radio if she misrepresented her qualifications, she responded: “The answer is a straight no.”

Last week, she said she was about to undergo surgery.

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