UKZN goes to court over ‘fake’ qualifications

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IOL court justice scales jan 23 Independent Newspapers

Pietermaritzburg - A Pietermaritzburg man who claims he has been a “prominent” student of the University of KwaZulu-Natal for 10 years said in court papers on Thursday he believed he was the victim of a conspiracy.

This was in reply to an application by the university to stop Dumisani Maduna, founder of the student club the Imbali Pyscho-Social Community Youth Resource Centre, from representing to residents of Imbali and the public that the courses it offered were authorised, endorsed and supported by the university and that enrolment would result in the award of a university qualification.

In the application, associate professor Jane Julia Meyerowitz said that last February the court had granted the same interdict which Maduna had defied.

Meyerowitz said the university became aware of Maduna’s unlawful actions when a woman, Purity Mpilo, was told by Maduna she could study at the university to become a teacher earning R13 000 a month, despite not having a matric.

Mpilo told a university recruitment officer, Nompilo Ndlovu, who called Maduna to clarify what had been said.

He said it was a teacher’s training course and she must pay R250 at Checkers and SMS him her details. She would then have to pass a selection test to study at the university.

Meyerowitz added that flyers were also being distributed, promising people an opportunity to study at the university.

She said the university went to great lengths to protect its good name, and its position had been recognised by the court.

In his replying affidavit, Maduna said he first enrolled at UKZN in 2002 and after completing a diploma in theology, he enrolled again in 2005 for education studies.

He said he grew up in a children’s home in Imbali.

“I had a dream, to go back to the community to empower them socially and educationally,” Maduna said. And so he formed a student organisation, the Imabli Psycho-Social Community Youth Resource Centre, which was a substructure of the SRC.

He said in 2011 he initiated a school programme during the winter holidays. Learners were to pay R500 for a three-week programme. This fee included accommodation, meals and tuition. When the programme was devised, the organisation did not have a functioning bank account.

However, Maduna said UKZN SRC president Latha Dlamini told parents, at a meeting held before the programme was due to start, that the programme and the organisation were fraudulent.

Maduna said he was surprised that, seven years after the organisation was formed, the university now deemed it fraudulent.

“We had been operating out of the university building and using university facilities. It does not make sense to me that the university was now sending out communiqués that my organisation was unknown to the university,” he said.

Maduna said he believed there was political motivation behind Dlamini’s accusations of fraud, because Dlamini supported another student organisation that was in direct competition to the Imbali Psycho-Social Community Youth Resource Centre.

Maduna, who has since been excluded as a student from the university, says he has adhered to the court order granted last February and has stopped doing activities under the auspices of UKZN. He is now studying at DUT.

“For more than 10 years I have been a prominent student at UKZN and a large number of people know me as the UKZN student. From my thinking, this is a conspiracy,” he said.

The case was adjourned.

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