In parliament, higher education isn’t necessary, logic and ...

Ideas

In parliament, higher education isn’t necessary, logic and morality are

Rejecting those without tertiary skills is elitist, but officials do need a moral compass and grasp of tricky matters

Executive editor: opinions and analysis

A former editor of the Sunday Times once wrote a hilarious column that touched on the diplomatic nightmare state visits to Japan would be if Tokyo Sexwale were to ever become president.  It’s simple, he would have had to drop that ridiculous moniker and revert to his birth name, Gabriel Mosima. That was in 2012, when the billionaire businessman and freedom fighter tried to challenge for ANC leadership. Branches rejected him so badly; he ended up on the slate of Kgalema Motlanthe in Mangaung as deputy president candidate and was trounced by Cyril Ramaphosa, who was on the Jacob Zuma slate for the same position. How things have changed.

After watching Sexwale again embarrass himself, this time on national TV, saying money from a “heritage fund” held in the Reserve Bank had been stolen (turns out he could be the victim of an internet scam operating under the delicious name “White Spiritual Boy”), we are relieved that his gazillion attempts at becoming president have all fallen flat. For crying out loud, the man was fooled by a blatant money scam that even Zuma recognised was a cheap gimmick.  

But this got me thinking. What should be the criteria for public office? Should there be mandated minimum qualifying standards for MPs, MPLs and municipal councillors? If so, what should those standards entail? Should educational qualifications be a prerequisite for public office? Do wealth and struggle credentials make an individual suitable for the highest office in the land?..

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