Brand expert advises scandal-weary Leoka

todayJanuary 24, 2024 65

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As South Africans remain perplexed and shocked over why renowned economist, Thabi Leoka, would have misrepresented her qualifications, one brand expert believes she should just come clean if she doesn’t have the contentious PhD.

Thebe Ikalafeng has, however, praised the embattled economist for resigning from the MTN and Anglo-American Platinum boards, respectively, saying this will shift negative attention from both firms to Leoka.

Leoka stepped down from the boards amid raging controversy over her failure to provide proof of her alleged PhD to various media outlets who had questioned her about it.

She has, however, denied misrepresenting her qualification, which, she says, was awarded by the the London School of Economics (LSE).

Ikalafeng, like many South Africans who have voiced their opinions on various social media platforms, is confused as to why Leoka would lie about this, given her solid economic expertise.

He says if the economist indeed doesn’t have a PhD, she should own up to her lie and lay low while acquiring that qualification.

Ikalafeng has not spared MTN South Africa and American Platinum from the backlash Leoka has been receiving.

He says the companies should have revealed the information the moment they found out that she had falsified her qualifications.

The founder and principal at Africa Brand Leadership Academy also cautions South Africans against judging Leoka harshly, saying anyone can be seduced by the accessibility a grand status affords an individual.


Leoka, who has told reporters that she is currently in the US undergoing medical treatment for glaucoma, has also been fired fromΒ the Presidential Economic Advisory Council.

The move came days after President Cyril Ramaphosa had asked her to expeditiously address the controversy over her qualifications.

According to the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act, which came into effect in 2019, it is a criminal offence to misrepresent qualifications and transgressors can be slapped with a hefty fine and/or be imprisoned for a period of up to five years.

Debate over Leoka’s saga meanwhile rages on, on social media.

Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa

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