Medical student held over fake matric results

By Nabeelah Shaikh Time of article published Jul 17, 2016

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Nabeelah Shaikh

Durban: Heads are expected to roll at one of the country’s top medical schools after a fourth-year student who faked his matric results to get into the University of KwaZulu-Natal was arrested on Friday.

Westville resident Rivaaz Manisunker, 24, appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on fraud charges and was released on a warning.

The court heard that Manisunker and the State would prepare statements for a plea bargain.

State prosecutor Pranisha Kasool said the State had no objection to Manisunker being released on warning because he had no previous convictions and was not seen as a flight risk.

According to the charge sheet, “the matric certificate used to gain entry into medical school in 2010 was falsified and fraudulent”.

Manisunker’s arrest comes almost a month after the Sunday Tribune reported that UKZN confirmed it was investigating a syndicate that could be selling sought-after places at the medical school. The syndicate involves high-ranking academics and administration staff.

The investigation first centred on a list of students whose race was in question. It is believed the university registered them on the basis that they were coloured.

In 2015 and 2016 Indian South Africans needed to score a minimum of 90.83 percent overall in matric to be eligible to study medicine at UKZN. For the same period, coloured pupils needed a score of 65 percent. The university received 8 300 applications for just 250 places.

It is believed the syndicate allowed Indian South Africans to pass themselves off as coloureds and gain entry to the medical school for a sum of money.

Last week, a student who applied to study medicine at UKZN for the 2016 academic year came forward alleging that he paid R20 000 to a high-raking official to secure his place.

Muhammad Bilal Vadwa asked for the official (whose name is known to the Sunday Tribune) to be suspended from her position. He has been in contact with the Sunday Tribune and UKZN to share information on the allegations and said that he would send an affidavit to the university through his attorney, but he has not done so yet.

The KZN provincial detective task team’s initial investigation was centred around Manisunker’s case.

The allegation is that Manisunker paid a sum of R500 000 to secure his place at the medical school using his fake certificate.

UKZN spokesman Lesiba Seshoka was asked if Manisunker would be allowed to return to university.

“We are not in a position to comment as the case is now sub judice. There is also an internal investigation under way and we can safely say that the matter is in the spotlight with the disciplinary proctor being tasked to deal with it,” said Seshoka.

Seshoka also said that the university had appointed an independent forensic auditor to look into the recent allegations. – Sunday Tribune

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