By Kaya 959 News
The DA has come under fire following allegations that its Chief Whip Natasha Mazzone lacked post-matric qualifications.
Headlines of Mazzone’s qualifications came to the fore following the suspension of the party’s Western Cape provincial leader and MEC for Public Works and Transport, Bonginkosi Madikizela.
He was placed on suspension after it was revealed that he lied about his own tertiary qualifications.
Madikizela has since admitted to lying about attaining a BCom degree in human resources from Unisa. He had not completed the degree.
Wikipedia page edited
Revelations about Mazzone’s matter were highlighted by GOOD Party member, Brett Herron, which prompted the party to issue a statement, clarifying Mazzone’s background and qualifications.
He claimed that she edited her Wikipedia page to remove the word “advocate”.
DA Deputy Chairperson of the Federal Council, Ashor Sarupen, said Mazzone has, over many years, publicly, stated that she never finished her law degree, and she has never claimed to be an attorney or advocate.
“In her publicly available statements, she has reiterated this. She has completed her articles as well as LEAD Legal Training,” he said.
Sarupen said Mazzone’s articles were done in terms of section 5(3) of the Attorneys Act.
“As an attorney himself, Herron would be familiar with this. The DA has sent Ms Mazzone on various workshops and courses over her 24 years of service to the party, and 21 years of service to the public, including those on political science with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation,” he said.
Sarupen said Mazzone’s biography provided by the DA on its website, throughout her two tenures as Deputy Federal Council Chairperson, never made any reference to legal qualifications.
“With regards to the various anonymous websites Mr Herron references – it must be noted that the DA does not own, control, manage, or run any of these websites.
“However, it must also be noted that Ms Mazzone has publicly stated repeatedly, including on her verified Twitter account, that she had not completed her law degree. The third-party sources here contracts a long, verifiable record from the individual concerned,” he said.
He added that with specific reference to Wikipedia, a simple search of the edits section shows that over the past 12 months, malicious edits were repeatedly made to Ms Mazzone’s page, which were constantly being undone as they were fabrications or falsehoods.
“It would appear that Mr Herron has looked at only the most recent batch of malicious edits to that page, and not the sustained attempt by cyber-bullies to manufacture outrage against Ms Mazzone and other members of the DA through this mechanism,” he said.
Not an admitted attorney
Sarupen said any reasonable person knows that Wikipedia, being editable anonymously by any person, is not a reliable source.
“However, Mr Herron successfully demonstrated that those propagating falsehoods are either digitally illiterate, determined to manufacture scandals where there are none, or are involved in the malicious creation of false information intended to defame Ms Mazzone,” he concluded.
Media reports claimed that Mazzone last listed legal qualifications when she was elected as the deputy federal council chairperson.
But Mazzone insisted that it was well known that she only had matric as she had never completed her degree, despite doing her articles. She said she was never admitted as an attorney due to her not finishing the degree.
Main image credit: DA