Report ‘confirms abuse of office’

2016-05-11 06:00

OPPOSITION parties say the Public Protector’s report on Operation Hlasela prove that Premier Ace Magashule uses the campaign to advance the interests of the ruling party.

On Thursday (05/05) the Public Protecto,r Thuli Madonsela, said Magashule had conflated state and party interests, although her office did not have conclusive evidence that showed abuse of state resources.

Roy Jankielsohn, DA member of the Free State legislature, said Magashule was unable to differentiate between his role as premier and his position as provincial chairperson of the ANC in the Free State.

In 2009 the DA and the Congress of the People (Cope) jointly lodged a case with the Public Protector requesting her to look into the running of Operation Hlasela.

Madonsela released the report during a media briefing in Pretoria on Thursday.

Madonsela also said ­Operation Hlasela’s marketing and advertising campaign unduly benefited the ANC in a way that was inconsistent with the Constitution, the Electoral Act and that it prejudiced other political parties.

The DA said it would make sure that Magashule complied with Madonsela’s recom­mendations.

Wouter Wessels, Freedom Front Plus (FF+) member of the Free State legislature, said the report showed that Magashule had used Operation Hlasela as a propaganda machine for the ANC.

Wessels urged Madonsela to finalise the second part of the report, which probes tender irregularities before the upcoming local elections.

“Her findings will have a bearing on the elections,” Wessels said.

Mzwandile Hleko, Cope Free State secretary, said the report was long overdue.

“There is clearly no clear policy between state and party interests in the province,” said Hleko.

Khotso Morapela, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) provincial chairperson, accused Magashule of using state funds to advance the interests of the ruling party.

“The Public Protector just confirmed what opposition parties have been saying about Magashule’s abuse of office,” Morapela added.

He said the premier ran the province like his empire at the cost of service delivery.

Thabo Meeko, Free State ANC spokesperson, and Tiisetso Makhele, spokesperson of the provincial government, said they would provide a detailed comment after they have studied Madonsela’s report.

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