OPINION

'Doctor' Ace - what a disgrace – Roy Jankielsohn

DA says honorary doctorate is another example of how Magashule uses state resources to solicit benefits for himself

'Doctor' Ace - what a disgrace

4 October 2017

The Democratic Alliance notes that the Bahcesehir University has been misled into conferring an honorary doctorate on the Premier of the Free State, Mr Ace Magashule.

Magashule must note that titles conferred by honorary doctorates are used mostly in formal correspondence with the conferring university and not for general purposes. He does not have a PhD.

This honorary doctorate is another example of how Mr Magashule uses state resources to solicit benefits for himself. The Bahcesehir University is an extended beneficiary of Magshule’s patronage network using Free State provincial government money.

It is common knowledge that the provincial government is paying for a number of students to study at the university. Universities often confer honorary doctorates to individuals who patronise the institutions with funding. In this case it is South African taxpayers and not Magashule.

If the university had done some research on Magashule before conferring such an honour, they would have found that his contributions to the Free State province are mostly linked to corruption and patronage.

Let me cite just a few examples:

- The former Premier of the Free State, Mosiua Lekota fired Magashule as a MEC as a result of charges of corruption against him;

- In court papers it was alleged that Magashule and other senior ANC cadres attempted to solicit a share of a development from Ya Rona Investments in exchange for approval of the sale of land belonging to the Mangaung Municipality to this company;

- Magashule was implicated in a scandal regarding the solicitation of money, under the pretext of a facilitation fee, from a company that was attempting to get an application approved from the Free State Gambling Board.

- Estate agents have complained to the DA that contracts are allocated based on political affiliation and a willingness to give so-called gifts before lease agreements are signed with government, this is done under the pretext of BEE enquiries;

- Under Magashule’s watch R120 million was paid to contractors towards the Ramkraal project which now appears it was never intended to be completed;

- The controversial Gupta linked R185 million Vrede Dairy Project signed into fruition in the Office of the Premier continues to haemorrhage public funds to the tune of R20 million per annum and beneficiaries are sidelined, while Magashule’s family benefit from this Gupta connection;

- The Public Protector confirmed that Magashule’s Operation Hlasela was abused for party election political purposes; and

- The housing scandal involving hundreds of millions of Rands involving Magashule’s closest cronies remains to be investigated properly.

No number of honorary doctorates bought with public funds will hide Magashule’s legacy which has left our people in the province without jobs, with dwindling basic services and ensnared them in a Magashule induced poverty trap.

The people of the Free State will not be fooled by this latest attempt to abuse public funds and mislead a private international university for personal and factional purposes.

Issued by Roy Jankielsohn, Leader of the Official Opposition, 4 October 2017