The decision to remove economist Thabi Leoka from the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) is an embarrassment for President Cyril Ramaphosa, Bongani Baloyi said on Tuesday.
This comes after the Presidency had asked Leoka last week to provide proof of her PhD degree but has since failed to do so.
In a statement issued on Monday, presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya confirmed that the Presidency had moved to immediately terminate Leoka’s membership from the PEAC.
“Ms Leoka was part of the 19-member panel of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, a non-statutory body, whose participation does not require formal vetting,” the statement read.
According to Baloyi, this situation “highlights a lack of thorough vetting by appointed experts in various government spheres and raises concerns about the selection process and overall competence and credibility of the individuals in these important advisory positions.”
The president of Xiluva believes that it is the responsibility of the Presidency to ensure that appointments are made based on merit and that the qualifications of the individuals are properly verified, maintaining that Ramaphosa must take the blame for the lack of vetting.
“This failure reflects poorly on President Ramaphosa, raises doubts about the effectiveness and integrity of his appointments and further erodes public trust in his decision-making. As the appointing authority, he must ensure that individuals selected for important advisory positions undergo vetting processes, including verifying their academic credentials,” said Baloyi.
Leoka continues to maintain her innocence in the matter and claims to have been awarded a doctorate by the London School of Economics in 2008.