Thabi Leoka resigns from MTN board over fake PhD scandal

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Thabi Leoka, the businesswoman accused of lying about her academic qualifications, has quit the board of MTN South Africa as the scandal around her continues to reverberate across the corporate sector.


MTN South Africa said in an e-mailed statement late on Monday evening that Leoka had resigned as a non-executive director of the company with immediate effect. She had been on the board of the telecommunications operator since 2019.

β€œShe resigned to attend to her health and the questions she has been facing concerning her academic qualifications,” MTN South Africa said.


She had claimed to have a PhD in economics from the London School of Economics.

The resignation came on the same day that Anglo American Platinum announced that Leoka had resigned from its board of directors.

The scandal erupted last week when Business Day reported (paywall) that she had stepped down from the board of Remgro in December, in part because she allegedly misrepresented her qualifications.

She had claimed to have a PhD in economics from the London School of Economics but has so far furnished no proof of this. She initially doubled down on the claim, telling Business Day that she did indeed have a PhD from the LSE, even though the LSE told the publication that it had no record of this on its files.

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