Johannesburg – The DA maintains that chief whip Natasha Mazzone did her legal education training and articles.
Speaking to Independent Media, DA deputy chairperson of the Federal Council MP Ashor Sarupen said Mazzone never said she had a law degree – she had put down LEAD and articles, which the party confirmed.
“She did LEAD with the South African Legal Society in 2004. She finished her articles with Hahn & Hahn Attorneys on November 24, 2007,” said Sarupen.
He said Mazzone did LEAD (Legal Education Development Training), which came before Practice Legal Training (PLT), which could be done for articles.
“Mazzone did do her legal education training and she did do her articles. She dropped out of law school.
“She is very open about that and she said that many times, she is not proud of it. She can provide you directly with the transcripts of her personal documents,” he said.
However, the law firm advised that we check with the Legal Practice Council (LPC).
“A company is not at liberty to discuss personnel information with the press or anyone else.
“In the present case, you are asking about 14-year-old information and even if we still have this information, it would be archived and I would not be able to locate any information which has been archived in paper form in 45 minutes,” said Hahn & Hahn Attorneys’ Janusz Luterek.
“I can only suggest that you contact the LPC and ask them as all articles contracts are registered with them and they may still have such old records,” said Luterek.
Many people questioned if it was possible for one to do articles without obtaining a law degree.
“The law regarding articles changed only very recently and it was always possible to enter into a contract of articles without a law degree and even to complete the period of articles. However, you could not be admitted to practice as an attorney until the law degree was obtained.
“I personally started my articles while still enrolled for my BProc degree and was only admitted as an attorney upon completion of both my law degree and the prescribed two-year period of articles (signed the contract for three years but upon completion of the BProc the high court condoned the reduction to two years),” said Luterek.
When questioned if members’ qualifications are audited, seeing that some members occupying senior positions have been caught without academic qualifications, DA national spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said any person can join the DA and no audit of their qualifications is done or should be done.
“That would be incredibly exclusionary and completely anti-democratic. One need not obtain any academic qualifications to be a member of any political party.
“In instances where members of the party are applying or wishing to be elected for positions which require a certain level of academic qualifications, then they’d be required to produce proof of said qualifications,” said Gwarube.
The LPC could not be reached for comment at the time of publishing.
This story will be updated after a response has been received.