The Sunday Times newspaper reported yesterday that leading ANC intellectual Dr Z Pallo Jordan seems not to have the doctorate commonly ascribed to him and, furthermore, there is no evidence that he has any undergraduate or postgraduate qualifications at all. In an article headed "Pallo Jordan's phantom doctorate" the newspaper reported:
"A Sunday Times investigation could find no evidence that Jordan-who goes by the title "Dr" - has ever earned a PhD or even had an honorary doctorate bestowed on him. ... Jordan has no degrees or diplomas from the University of Wisconsin-Madison or the London School of Economics (LSE), the two institutions cited on his CV. As far as the Sunday Times could ascertain, he has no formal tertiary academic qualifications whatsoever."
"Dr Zweledinga Pallo Jordan served as a Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism of the Republic of South Africa from 1996 to 1999; as a Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and Broadcasting from 1996 until 1996 and Minister of Arts and Culture from 29 April 2004 to 10 May 2009.
Dr Jordan studied at the University of Wisconsin in the United States of America (USA) in 1962 and he acquired a post-graduate degree from the London School of Economics."
However, according to the Sunday Times, both the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the LSE stated, on inquiry from the newspaper, that they had no record of Jordan receiving a degree from their institutions. The LSE told the newspaper that it had "no record for Zweledinga Pallo Jordan at the LSE". The University of Wisconsin-Madison did, however, confirm that Jordan had attended the university in the mid-1960s, but had not completed his degree there.
The newspaper also published a series of SMSs exchanged, over a number of weeks starting on July 16, between Jordan and Sunday Times reporter, Gareth van Onselen, in which the latter repeatedly asked Jordan to confirm his actual academic qualifications.
On July 17 Jordan promised "I shall have the relevant documentation, including letters of acceptance, testimonials from teChers, profs, etc."
On July 19 Jordan promised again to explain:
"I had hoped that my selected biographer would be the one who writes up the twisted narrative of my life. But, it appears that a would be detractor will be the person to do so. My return home has been delayed by a day or two. When I get close to a PC I'll send u a prelimanary account. Relevant materials are at home so they'll have to await my return. I'll reach for scheduled appoint as soon as I land."
In further exchanges Jordan suggested that if Van Onselen held the story he could become his official biographer. In an SMS to Van Onselen on July 28 Jordan stated:
"I had hoped that my chosen biographer wud b the one who collects on the Faustian bargain I made 30 years ago. U have taken that role with no invitation. So, here's the deal. U can wait for me to get home, and I give u a full biography of a key player in SA politics over the past thirty odd years. It cud rival Gevisser's Dream Deferred. Or you could go for a Profumo story that burns out in month or less. I am still en route home."
After Van Onselen repeated pressed for comment, given his impending deadline on the story, Jordan finally dismissed his requests for comment on Thursday July 31:
"Tell me, does Tokyo still poem Times Media? I will not take an old friend to court, but I'll take you to the cleaners, the dry cleaners plus the laundry!! So do what you wanna!!"
The report that Jordan did not possess a doctorate was met with surprise, disbelief and support by a number of senior ANC figures.
Former Labour Minister and Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni tweeted:
I think that we should stop trying to destroy people and think more about how to build them. What purpose does pulling people down serve?— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) August 2, 2014
Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom tweeted his high opinion of Jordan's intelligence:
Extremely! Not many to match him. "@simphiwedana: Pallo Jordan is a very intelligent man. This much I know"— Derek Hanekom (@Derek_Hanekom) August 3, 2014
Former Department of Justice Director General Menzi Simelane tweeted:
Pallo Jordan will be judged by us and by his contribution to the struggle for the economic and political emancipation of our people.— Menzi Simelane (@simelaneme) August 3, 2014
Simelane's predecessor as NDPP, Vusi Pikoli, commented:
The ST article on Cde Pallo depressed me to no limits.I still hope that Cde Pallo will state his case.— Vusi Pikoli (@VusiPikoli) August 3, 2014
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