Deputy president of the ANC youth league Desmond Moela graduated for his first “tertiary qualification”, a national diploma in public management.
He graduated in the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Mbombela campus last Wednesday.
Celebrating him were some ANC youth league and South African Students Congress (SASCO) members who burst into a song in celebration when his name was called.
But why is this such a big deal?
In 2015, the deputy minister of international relations and co-oprtation, Reginah Mhaule, appointed Moela as director for human resource capacity development. She was Mpumalanga’s MEC for education at the time.
Mhaule’s spokesperson, Jasper Zwane, defended the department’s decision.
“The Department is satisfied that all due processes were followed to the later (sic) in the filling in of advertised vacant posts including that of the candidate in question.
“The advert was published in the City Press dated 06 July 2014 and the closing date was 24 July 2014, applications were received, interviews conducted on 05 November 2014, subsequently competency assessment were conducted leading to the Executive Council approval of the appointments,” said Zwane at the time.
The minimum requirement for the position was a Bachelor’s degree, but the department refused to comment on whether Moela had the required educational requirement.
A Ziwaphi investigation found that Moela had dropped out of the same TUT in 2003, after passing only three out of six subjects that he had registered for.
Despite the criticism, the department appointed him.
Sources within the department told Ziwaphi that he didn’t even know what the job entailed and he never even set his foot in his office since his appointment.
To add to his blue-eyed boy status, the deputy president, David Mabuza, appointed Moela to the position of director for youth desk in his office. Mabuza was the premier of Mpumalanga at the time.
Moela surprised many when an ANCYL national conference elected him as the deputy president of the now defunct organisation, which was led by self-confessed Gupta beneficiary, Collen Maine.
Another attempt to sneak Moela into a prominent position in the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) failed after it became clear that he did not have the educational requirement for the position.
The ANCYL in Mpumalanga, could no longer keep silent on the matter. ANCYL provincial secretary, Pholoso Mbatsane, who succeeded Moela was more scathing.
“It has to be a prerequisite for every youth league leader elected in the regional or provincial executive committee in the country to have a tertiary qualification. We will canvass this matter in the national general council,” said ANCYL provincial secretary, Pholoso Mbatsane at the time.
“We need to be prepared because there will be a time when people will refuse to be led by uneducated leaders,” said Mbatsane at the time.
Moela, however, had the last laugh this past week, and ironically, he has become even more closer to Mbatsane. He said he will not stop his quest for more qualifications. The ridicule of those past four years since he was exposed were clearly still lingering in his mind.
“I know people have been talking this and that not knowing that I’m at school studying. This is the first step, more is coming. I have registered for my degree and have started attending classes. If all goes well I’m graduating again soon like next year,” said Moela.
Also graduating on the day was Moela’s predecessor, former provincial secretary of the ANC youth league, Johan Mkhatshwa who was conferred a Bachelor of Technology degree in public management.
Mkhatshwa who’s now executive mayor of Nkomazi municipality and a graduate from the University of Limpopo told Ziwaphi that his passion for education was aimed at encouraging the young people he leads.
“Our municipality is very rural with more than a number you can think of young people who are uneducated, so mine as a leader there is to encourage them that education is fashionable. People respect an educated leader and so young people would like to emulate and be encouraged by this,” said Mkhatshwa.