The African National Congress has accepted the resignation from parliament of former cabinet minister and leading ANC intellectual Z Pallo Jordan. This follows the revelations in the Sunday Times on September 3rd that Jordan - who was widely referred to as "Dr Pallo Jordan" and who claimed, in his official curriculum vitae, to possess "numerous degrees" - had been unable to stand up these qualifications when challenged by journalist Gareth van Onselen.
In a statement issued late on Monday afternoon ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said Jordan had provided a "detailed explanation" on the matter to the party and had apologised "to the ANC, its membership and South Africa as a whole." He added that Jordan had also offered to "resign his membership of Parliament, the National Executive Committee of the ANC and the ANC." The ANC leadership had "accepted his resignation from Parliament" while the question of his continued membership of the NEC and the party had "been referred to the structures of the organisation."
Mantashe commented "A man of Comrade Pallo Jordan's intellect does not need to perpetuate deceit; he must be given time to deal with his guilt. As the ANC, we have accepted his public apology; to apologise was not an action of the faint hearted."
Earlier in the day the Office of ANC Chief Whip, Stone Sizani, had released a statement reaffirming "our unshakable respect, admiration and confidence in [Jordan] as one of the movement's most treasured assets with a unique and unparalleled knowledge and experience on a wide range of social, economic and political matters." The statement added that calls by the Freedom Front Plus for parliament to take up the matter of Jordan's apparently fraudulent qualifications were a "mere publicity gimmick."
Yesterday, the Sunday Times reported that Jordan had gone to ground after its report the week before. "Close friends, comrades and neighbours have also not seen or heard from Jordan, some saying they were worried about him", it stated. The Sunday Times also quoted Business Day editor Songezo Zibi as saying he had discontinued Jordan's column after he had "inexplicably failed to file his column three weeks ago, missed his deadline by two days last week and has not responded to numerous attempts to reach him since." In his weekly column this morning Zibi wrote: "Around midmorning on Sunday, Jordan finally responded. He indicated that he was overseas and it would be best to discontinue his column, ‘for now', he said."
After the original story broke a number of progressive intellectuals rallied in support of Jordan. Professor Steven Friedman of the University of Johannesburg and Professor Mary Metcalfe of Wits both commented that an absence of a PHD would in no way diminish Jordan's intellectual stature. Over the course of the week they were joined by a number of other leading opinion-makers.