Ace Magashule made a big farewell statement by throwing a major jamboree in the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein to mark his last hoorah in the province.
South Africans were shocked to discover that millions of rands (estimated at R20 million) had been spent on the occasion to satisfy Magashule’s sense of importance. In behaviour reminiscent of homeland leaders, everything had to stop to mark Ace’s moment.
Government employees were instructed to leave their work stations early to join the celebration. Poor people were bused in and given food.
In true tinpot-dictator fashion, a special 20-page publication extolling the achievements and virtues of Magashule was widely distributed. The newspaper included testimonies of people hailing him for “changing my life”.
This should have no space in a government in which finances are under pressure and citizens march every day to protest against poor service delivery. But this was nothing new for Magashule. Stories are emerging now about how he used his power to give business to family members, including his daughter and his son who worked for the notorious Guptas.
Magashule, who has since moved to Luthuli House as ANC secretary-general, epitomises the worst of the Jacob Zuma era of governance. An era in which corruption, deftly accompanied by impunity and lack of accountability, ruled the roost. We are grateful that with the exit of Zuma, the likes of Magashule are also on their way out,
Current North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo is a remnant of that generation who did not think twice about wasting public money. His time will come soon.
New president Cyril Ramaphosa assumed power on a ticket of anticorruption and clean governance and he therefore should ensure that he cleans up not only at the top but in provincial and local government as well.
Magashule’s successor, Sisi Ntombela, is a well-known acolyte of his. But she must know that much more is expected of her than when the province was under Magashule’s rule.
Hers is not a responsibility to hide Magashule’s skeletons, but to clean up the shady mess bequeathed to her by Magashule. The new dawn should not be about more of the same.