Nzimande Launches Investigation On Bogus Honorary Doctorates


Many well-known public figures have received honorary degrees from institutions of higher learning. Some have even fallen victim to receiving bogus honorary doctorates from unregistered institutions. The onus is on the Department of Higher Education and Training to ensure that something is done about this, as this is a criminal offence. 


Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, Dr. Blade Nzimande has expressed concern about the ongoing cases of unregistered institutions of higher learning awarding suspicious honorary doctorates, with celebrities falling victim to this phenomenon.  

This comes after businesswoman and football club owner Shauwn Mkhize was awarded a suspicious honorary doctorate in philosophy by the unregistered Good Shepherd College of Religion, Culture, and Training for doing good for her community. She and her sister were both adorned in bold red gowns on Instagram.

Events took an awful turn when the Department of Higher Education and Training spokesperson, Ishmael Mnisi, confirmed the college was not registered to begin with.

“Kindly note that the Good Shepherd College of Religion and Training is not registered with the Department as a private higher education institution. We are currently investigating.”

Nzimande appealed to members of the public to be cautious and mentioned that an investigation had commenced.

“I have already requested the Council of Higher Education (CHE) to investigate and advise on appropriate action on all the reported cases of the awarding of these bogus honorary degrees,” he said.  

A number of these bogus colleges are not registered with the Department as public or private higher education institutions to provide higher education programmes as required by section 51(1) of the Higher Education Act, 1997 (Act No. 101 of 1997 (“the Act”) and this is a criminal offense for an institution to provide higher education without registration. 

As the 2022 new academic year nears, Minister Nzimande has urged students to first verify the legality of any programme offered by institutions before enrolling, in order to avoid falling prey to illegal operations.

To verify this, prospective students are encouraged to consult the registers of private higher institutions and private colleges, which can be found on the department of higher education & training website.





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