Lines getting blurred

2016-05-11 06:00

ROY JANKIELSOHN, DA leader in the Free State:

THE DA welcomes the release of the public protector’s report into Free State Premier Ace Magashule’s controversial Operation Hlasela in the province.

The public protector indicated that there were both a private Hlasela Fund and the government’s Operation Hlasela – the lines between which were blurred. As such, the boundaries between the Free State Provincial Government and the ANC in the province became blurred. It is clear that Premier Magashule is unable to differentiate between his role as premier and his position as provincial chairperson of the ANC in the Free State. The DA has long maintained that the line between party and state in the province has been conflated and the public protector’s finding supports this view.

To date, Premier Magashule continues to govern the Free State as a fiefdom with its accompanying patronage network and largesse at the expense of quality basic service delivery to the people of the province. As the public protector states in her report, Operation Hlasela’s marketing and advertising campaign unduly benefitted the ANC in a way that was inconsistent with the Constitution, the Electoral Act and that it prejudiced other political parties.

The fact that the public protector has to once again remind the ANC of the principles of democracy and constitutionalism shows that after 22 years in government, the ANC has changed and is no longer the party of Nelson Mandela.

The DA will write to the speaker of the Free State Provincial Legislature, Mamiki Qabathe, requesting her to table the public protector’s report so that it may be referred to the relevant portfolio committee on governance for further interrogation and to call Premier Magashule to appear before the committee.

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