University of Zululand gets deadline to reopen fraud probe
Minister of Higher Education Naledi Pandor has given the University of Zululand (Unizulu) until September to reopen a probe into a number of allegations circulated at the institution in the past few months.
One of the main allegations was that Unizulu vice-chancellor Xoliswa Mtose’s appointment was fraudulent.
Others related to an illegal transfer of R11.5m, the fraudulent and unprocedural appointment of the university’s attorneys and irregularities relating to the purchase of executive housing. The allegations include qualifications fraud, changing of marks and tampering with admission requirements to allow students who did not meet the requirements to be admitted.
Although the university has investigated all these allegations before, Pandor said she was not satisfied with the outcome.
She directed the Unizulu council to conduct an independent forensic investigation.
Pandor’s spokesman, Lunga Ngqengelele, said on Wednesday that the minister wanted action taken against those implicated and found guilty.
There were also allegations relating to scam degrees. The minister wanted the names of the officials implicated and what punitive action was taken against them, Ngqengelele said.
Unizulu said on Wednesday it would fully co-operate with the minister’s demand.
Gcina Nhleko, spokeswoman for Unizulu, said that the institution would use the platform provided by the minister to set the record straight.
"Management, council, staff and students are giving the investigation their unconditional support so it can proceed in a fair and open manner," she said.
Josephine Naicker, secretary of pressure group Save Unizulu, said her organisation had written to the minister and other stakeholders with a view to alerting them of the allegations that took place at the university.
She said Save Unizulu was now hopeful that the minister’s directive would prevent the previous practice of sweeping serious allegations under the carpet.