Cape Town - David (Des) van Rooyen has the highest academic qualification of all the finance ministers President Jacob Zuma has appointed during his term, Africa Check reported on Friday.
In December last year, President Jacob Zuma unexpectedly replaced then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene with Van Rooyen, only to replace him four days later with former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, following aggressive reaction by the markets.
Van Rooyen took over as minister of co-operative governance from Gordhan.
Zuma has reportedly recently defended his choice of Van Rooyen, pointing out that Van Rooyen is a trained "finance and economic comrade" and more qualified than any minister he has ever appointed in the finance sphere.
According to Africa Check, which cited the government's website, Van Rooyen has several certificates in governance and finance. He obtained a master’s degree in management from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2010. He also has another master’s degree in finance - specialising in economic policy - from the University of London. This was obtained in 2013 through distance learning.
According to his government profile, the highest academic qualification Gordhan holds is a bachelor of science in pharmacy from the University of Durban in 1973. Africa Check said it was unable to confirm this with the university, but would keep on trying.
Gordhan was also awarded two honorary doctorates: in commerce, by the University of South Africa and in law, by the University of Cape Town, both in 2007.
Nene has a bachelor of commerce honours in economics obtained at the University of the Western Cape in 2009. Nene also holds several certificates and diplomas in economics, according to his government profile.
The question could therefore be asked, according to Africa Check, whether Zuma's qualification statement should not have been taken literally, but looked at from an academic angle.