DURBAN - A Sunday Tribune team has been blocked from reporting on the pickets taking place at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson R Mandela medical school campus.
Students are picketing at the campus calling for the university to release a forensic report that was commissioned last year to look at allegations of buying of medical school places at the institution. The university paid R1.4m for the report and has not released it to the university community. Our journalist, Siphelele Buthelezi and photojournalist, Doctor Ngcobo, were told they had to seek permission from the corporate communications unit within the university to be allowed on campus.
A representative of the student leadership told the Sunday Tribune team in the presence of security staff that they had no problem with the presence of the reporters.
The security, using a two way radio, then contacted a senior official in the university’s security team, who said the journalists were not allowed to be on campus.
Calls were made to the university’s communications team in a bid to allow our journalists on campus, but they were not immediately available for comment as their phones were not answered. The Sunday Tribune has followed up with SMSes calling for an explanation and assistance to allow the journalists to enter the university.
Police are on campus.
UPDATE: UKZN spokesperson Normah Zondo responded to the Sunday Tribune and said: "UKZN respects the role of the media and the role it plays in reporting matters that are of public interest. The university also respects the right for media to report without fear or favour".