As news broke of the premier, Ace Magashule, being awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Philosophy: Honoris Causa) by the Bahcesehir University (BAU), in Instanbul, Turkey, a line between his supporters and those who oppose him, was drawn.
Many congratulated Premier Magashule on his office, stating that this was not just an achievement for him, but one for the entire province. The premier’s spokesperson, Tiisetso Makgale, said that residents should not to view the honorary PhD degree as an individual achievement but rather as confirmation that the provincial government is committed to education.
“The conferment of the honorary degree on the honourable premier should send an important message to all our people, especially to the youth, about the importance of education as well as human capacity development. It is an indication that through commitment to education and improving the human capacity of our people, we can indeed change society in line with what the late President Nelson Mandela said when he said ‘it is thorough education that we can change society’”, said Makhele.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), however, did not buy this story. EFF Provincial Chairperson, Kgotso Morapela, said that the premier should know better and that he doesn’t deserve the ‘bogus’ PhD. “Deep down inside he knows that he has not done anything better for the people of the Free State other than looting the very same money that is supposed to be helping them,” he said.
Morapela added that the EFF will approach the Office of the Auditor-General to audit books and investigate all payments made with regards to students who have been taken overseas to study. “Those kids that are there tell us the institutions they have been taken to are fly-by-night institutions, they are not accredited anywhere and they are going to struggle when they come back. And the people of the Free State have invested in them.”
He said that they are highly concerned by this and have raised the matter with the office of the premier as well as the Education Department, and it seems that no one cares about this.
Makhele responded by stating that: “The premier will not respond to EFF or any opposition party.”