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09 December 2022 | Story Gerda-Marié van Rooyen | Photo Sonia Small
Dr Roy Jankielsohn
Dr Roy Jankielsohn, member of the Free State Provincial Legislature and Provincial Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), obtained his sixth degree – and second PhD degree – at the December graduation.

While some people became hermits during the COVID-19 pandemic, others used the time to complete their degrees. Being awarded his sixth degree, Dr Roy Jankielsohn, member of the Free State Provincial Legislature and Provincial Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), proves that the sky is the limit – or rather – the graduation gown has plenty of space for degree sashes. Dr Jankielsohn received his fifth degree from the University of the Free State (UFS) on Friday, 9 December 2022.

The title of his thesis is, The governance of custodianship over animals in South Africa – an analysis and alternative frameworkDr Tania Coetzee, Programme Director in the Department of Governance and Political Transformation, was his supervisor.

Being an eternal student, this politician delivered several research proposals on various subjects, such as land redistribution and water issues. Some of this research has morphed into policy suggestions offered by the DA. This former UFS lecturer, study leader, peer reviewer, and member of the Academic Advisory Board in the Department of Political Sciences and Governance, says research is his hobby. “I research topics that interest me. My wife and I are avid animal rights activists. I hope my research creates animal welfare awareness. Animals have emotions and experience pain too.”


Second PhD

Dr Jankielsohn, who now has two PhDs, says his thesis includes a model – the first of its kind in the country – in which animal rights, welfare, and governance are placed on a spectrum. “Politics ties with animal rights. We don’t have enough animal rights. We have a lot of industry-created rules, but not enough legislation.”

Referring to the recent spike in pit bulls attacking humans, he says owners and breeders are to blame. “The problem isn’t with the animals. Animals are (wrongfully) bred to fight. Owners often don’t know how to look after them. Animals get frustrated too when they don’t get enough exercise.” Jankielsohn, a foster owner of dogs, donkeys, horses, and pigs, says more legislation is needed to keep breeders in line and homeless animals to the minimum.”

This Bethlehem resident says obtaining a doctor’s degree takes time and commitment. “You need to have a lot of time available. You need to keep on when you feel like giving up and your family needs to understand you are in the race for the long haul.”

Dr Jankielsohn’s wife, Astrid, a renowned entomologist in the Free State, is also an avid lifelong student. Following his dad’s choice of a tertiary institution, his son Tristan is looking forward to studying at the UFS too. This prospective marketing student accompanied his dad to his graduation ceremony and the Chancellor's Luncheon.

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