Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Monday, 22 January 2024 16:49

Leoka resigns from Amplats board as PhD appears to be a figment of her imagination.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Embattled Economist Thabi Leoka has resigned from the board of Anglo American Platinum amidst allegations that she lied about obtaining a PhD from the London School of Economics (LSE).

In a note to shareholders, Amplats said Leoka had resigned with immediate effect to "attend to her health and the questions she has been facing in relation to her academic qualifications".

For the past week, Leoka has been facing questions about whether she received a PhD in economics and economic history in 2008 from the London School of Economics. 

The LSE and the University of London have confirmed that they have no record of Leoka being awarded a PhD from either body.

Leoka, who holds a Master's Degree from the institution, claimed her name cannot be found among PhD graduates because she changed her name at Home Affairs.

She promised to prove that she does hold a PhD from the London School of Economics.

Leoka has held numerous directorships as well as high-profile advisory positions to President Cyril Ramaphosa and former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene.

In 2018, "Dr" Leoka was among a panel of researchers appointed by Nene to review a list of VAT zero-rated items and terms of reference. In 2019, "Dr" Leoka was appointed by Ramaphosa to the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), to "advise the President and government more broadly, facilitating the development and implementation of economic policies that spur inclusive growth".

She also serves on the boards of several companies including, the Small Business Institute and the Senegal-based consulting group Act-Afrique. She is also a board member of MTN SA, and in company documents, her official bio says she holds a PhD in economics from the University of London.

MTN South Africa has yet to release a statement addressing these allegations, and Leoka still serves on the company's board.