Picture: Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA).
Picture: Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA).

UKZN SRC calls for the release of ‘operation clever’ report

By Siboniso Mngadi Time of article published Jan 17, 2021

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Durban - The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s students’ representative council (SRC) has called for the release of the report into allegations of fraud at its medical school.

The investigation, known as "operation clever", was commissioned in 2016, to investigate allegations of bribery to gain placement at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine. It has dragged on over the years without anyone being criminally charged or prosecuted.

The Durban High Court last week ordered the university to release details including finances relating to its investigation to businessman, Visham Panday, an anti-corruption activist and founder of VP Justice Foundation.

Panday had approached the court seeking all the details as he was also conducting his investigation into the allegations.

In response to the judgment, Normah Zondo, UKZN's acting executive director, said the university would consider all legal options before deciding on acceptance or appeal.

However, Thulani Mncwabe, secretary-general of the SRC at UKZN, said they were not in support of any appeal of the judgment, saying it would be a waste of the university’s money.

Mncwabe said the investigation was not commissioned in the interest of the students or university but was a “tick box” process to protect individuals.

He said it may not give satisfactory answers to the allegations but they want it to be made public because of the budget that has been spent on it.

“The university wants to protect its integrity by not releasing it. As the SRC we have taken it upon ourselves to curb the corruption in medical student placement. But, sadly, so much money has been spent on an investigation which has taken so long without any development. This money could assist many poor students, we won’t allow the university to spend more money to appeal the judgment. The university must reveal all the information to show transparency and integrity of the council,” he said.

Mncwabe said the quality of the investigation has been compromised by the delay and an appeal would be evidence that the university was hiding something.

“We understand that the report would not solve any of the problems but the monies spent on it must be accounted for.

“They (management) want to protect themselves; the education sector is highly competitive, the report may expose some of the things that may tarnish the image of the institution,” he said.

Mncwabe said when the council of the university met in March they would ask for the release of the report to show transparency and integrity of the council.

He warned that should the management appeal they would take action against it.

The university is yet to comment on the way forward as it was still studying and considering the judgment.

Sunday Tribune

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