EC Premier embroiled in alleged academic fraud

Eastern Cape Premier Premier Oscar Mabuyane.

Eastern Cape Premier Premier Oscar Mabuyane.

Published May 17, 2023


Cape Town - Eastern Cape opposition party leaders have called for Premier Oscar Mabuyane to step down over allegations of academic fraud.

According to a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report, Mabuyane allegedly solicited the assistance of former University of Fort Hare professor Edwin Ijeoma, his team of “research assistants”, and ghostwriters to help with his Master’s proposal, despite not having an honours degree.

It is alleged that Mabuyane lied about the details surrounding his research proposal to obtain a Master’s and PhD degree in public administration from Fort Hare University, with only a BCom degree.

According to the report, Mabuyane paraphrased and added bits of information to “his” Master’s proposal, while Ijeoma and his team did most of the work.

DA Eastern Cape leader in the provincial legislature, Nqaba Bhanga, said Mabuyane must also come clean about his relationship with Ijeoma.

“Not only are the allegations extremely serious, they also raise serious questions about the ethical conduct of the premier and, if left unanswered, bring his term of leadership into serious dispute.

“The premier is the first citizen of the province, and his conduct should be beyond reproach.

“Should these allegations prove true, one must ask what other duties he has outsourced during his term as premier,” said Bhanga.

ActionSA Eastern Cape chairperson Athol Trollip said that the party had written to Mabuyane calling on him to resign immediately.

“It is not the first time that Premier Mabuyane’s unethical conduct has exposed his lack of integrity expected of a leader of a provincial government,” he said.

“ActionSA reiterates its belief that the basis of honourable leadership is ethical conduct, integrity and accountability and Premier Mabuyane should therefore do the right thing and resign.”

Mabuyane’s spokesperson Zuko Godlimpi said the premier was admitted and registered at UFH to study for his degree, and was further allocated his supervisor Ijeoma by the institution, until his suspension.

“The premier did all his corrections by himself in regular consultation with his supervisor. Issues around his research schedules, presentations and feedback were handled by the two university administrators.

“After the suspension of Professor Edwin Ijeoma, the premier was allocated a new supervisor, that is, Professor Thakathi and he continued with his studies without any issues raised.

“In 2021, the premier received a letter from the university stating he has been excluded and deregistered as a student of the institution, following a review conducted in respect of students who were supervised by Professor Ijeoma.”

Godlimpi added that Mabuyane has since instructed his legal advisers to consider the forensic report with a view to taking the matter to court.

UFH said that all reports and evidence were handed over to the SIU several weeks ago in relation to the serious academic fraud involving public servants that occurred in the Department of Public Administration at the Bisho campus.

Cape Times