Many know the University of Free State vice-chancellor, professor Jonathan Jansen to be very good in the academic world. However, only few people know that he is also alert, trendy and good in following up South Africa’s political events.
Professor Jonathan Jansen To Leave UFS
Jansen will step down as UFS VC in August. Also, he is to take up an invitation as a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in the USA in September.
Speaking in what could be perceived as a valedictory interview, Jansen belaboured the dangers of undermining the political prowess of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema.
The out-going administrative head asserted that the greatest mistake people would make in the face of the numerous tug of political wars would be to belittle the smartness and brilliance of the opposition leader.
“The biggest mistake that people made then and now‚ particularly the ANC (African National Congress)‚ the biggest mistake they made is to underestimate the intelligence‚ the political smarts of Julius Malema.
Malema’s ability to size up‚ summarize and understand a complex problem is uncanny.
“We make a huge mistake especially in the parliamentary context to underestimate his ability to bring politics to the agenda for change. We underestimate him at our peril‚” Jansen said.
He also praised Malema’s love and respect for education in the country. We’ll recall that in March, the opposition party leader shocked his rivals who earlier dubbed him an ‘illiterate’ when he graduated from the University of South Africa with BA Degree in Political Leadership and Citizenship.
Last month, Malema reiterated EFF’s commitment towards the provision of free education, expropriation of land without compensation and the nationalisation of mines and banks.
Malema made this known during the launching of his party’s local government elections manifesto at Orlando Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg.
However, Jansen’s commendations appears to have come at the right time – at a time the EFF leader and members have turned South Africa’s Parliament from hushed haven for opposition MPs to a ‘cold warring ring’.