Water cannon were used against protesting students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Westville campus. Photo: Jacques Naude

Durban - The student who was rejected by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) medical school after officials discovered she was Indian, has refused the institution’s offer to reinstate her in the programme.

The student’s father told the Daily News on Sunday that she had settled into her second choice pharmacy degree after not meeting the university’s 24-hour deadline to register for medicine.

“She is happy in the course she is in. She has bought all the course material and has begun her studies,” he said. “We did not want to be ambushed by a tight deadline.”

UKZN made an about-turn last week and after a meeting with Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, decided to allow the student to register at medical school.

The student has been studying pharmacy at UKZN after receiving an SMS from the university last month withdrawing its “firm offer” for medicine when it was established she was Indian and not “African” as was mistakenly put on the application form, apparently by a clerk.

The applicant, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals, did not fill in the “population group” field on the form, which was sent to the Central Applications Office.

However, the form sent to the university had “African” as her race. The student’s father believes the error was made by assuming race based on their surname.

On Thursday, the university said it would as a matter of “principle and justice” honour its initial offer.

Her father said he wanted an independent inquiry into the matter.

He said the entire episode had affected his daughter psychologically and she needed to get on with her life.

“My daughter is happy with pharmacy. From her point of view, she wants to get on with her studies,” he said.

In a statement to the Daily News last week, UKZN’s vice-chancellor and principal, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, said the incident was sincerely regretted.

Dhlomo commended the offer to reinstate the student. A statement issued by the KZN Department of Health said he had met Makgoba “and the issue was resolved”.

Daily News