Johannesburg - If it was up to Professor Jonathan Jansen, he would offer Pallo Jordan an honorary doctorate.
In fact, the rector and vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS) believes Jordan should have received an honorary doctorate a long time ago.
Jordan resigned as an ANC MP this week, following a Sunday Times report exposing his academic qualifications as a lie.
The former Arts and Culture minister was exposed for lying about his qualifications, including a PhD that resulted in him going by the title “Doctor”.
Following his resignation this week, Jansen took to Facebook to ask fellow South Africans for advice.
His status read: “Since so many have asked me, let me ask your advice: Should a South African university do the right thing and offer Pallo Jordan an honorary doctorate?”
Hundreds of South Africans replied, with many saying he shouldn’t get one.
But on Friday Jansen said he firmly believed Jordan deserved to have the honour bestowed upon him.
But he wasn’t in a position to make such a decision.
“This a decision made by the senate and council of a university,” said Jansen.
But he felt Jordan “certainly deserves honours for his immense knowledge, expertise and contribution to our freedom”.
“I think, however, that most universities would have a problem with the timing, coming after the tragedy of the lie.”
Jansen added that he doubted that Jordan would accept such honours after his public confession this week.
His view was that Jordan’s apology was the honourable thing to do in the circumstances.
“I think we should appreciate him for the very public apology, and for not waiting to be pushed from his privileged position, but resigning voluntarily.”
Jansen agrees with many that South Africa needs a zero-tolerance policy towards dishonesty, but believes the life-long contributions made by Jordan should be rewarded.
“I do not believe that one act of deception cancels out the life-long contribution of this man, or any human being.
“The man said sorry, and he must be going through unmentionable pain right now. We should accept his apology, embrace him and somewhere down the road at least consider honouring him for a life of dedication to our freedom, whether it be an honorary degree or not.”