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Mabuyane makes a U-turn and confirms deregistration, demands reasons from Fort Hare

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane.


Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane.

  • Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane is no longer a University of Fort Hare Master’s student.
  • He said the decision reportedly followed a review conducted in respect of students who were supervised by Professor Edwin Ijeoma.
  • Mabuyane justified his earlier denial by saying the news of his deregistration reached the media before it reached him.

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has confirmed he is no longer a University of Fort Hare Master’s student.

This was a U-turn on his earlier statement on Thursday.

In the statement, the chairperson of the ANC in the Eastern Cape said: “I would like to confirm that indeed I received a letter from the university which states that the senate has approved a faculty of management and commerce recommendation to exclude and deregister me as a student of the institution, reportedly following a review conducted in respect of students who were supervised by Professor Edwin Ijeoma.”

Ijeoma is a former professor of public sector economics at Fort Hare who recently had his citizenship revoked.

He was placed on suspension at the time due to allegations that he irregularly registered axed health MEC Sindiswa Gomba for an honours degree in public administration.

Mabuyane is one of two students who were deregistered by the university.

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He justified his earlier denial by saying the news of his deregistration reached the media before it reached him.    

Mbuyane said: 

I would also like to confirm that this is the first time that the university has communicated to me about this matter. Instead, the only communication I’ve received from the university to date has been in relation to my studies, which includes the allocation of a new supervisor on the 2nd November 2020 and granting of an ethical clearance by the Interfaculty Research Ethics Committee on the 19th February 2021.

On Thursday, the university said the deregistration of the two students came after it recently launched an inquiry into allegations of irregular admission and registration of two students supervised by Ijeoma who resigned from his position and the employ of the university.

Review

It added at its senate meeting of 12 March 2021, a recommendation was presented by the faculty of management and commerce arising from a review it had conducted in respect of two students supervised by Ijeoma before his resignation.

The recommendation was deliberated upon and approved by the senate to exclude and deregister two students from their programmes for not complying with minimum admission requirements for the degree, including the rules of its UFH Recognition of Prior Learning policy, the university said. 

Mabuyane complained he was not informed about any investigation against him.

“I would like to express my serious concerns and dissatisfaction regarding the fact that I was neither informed that there was a process of reviewing my enrolment at the university, nor was I afforded an opportunity to make representations on a process that might have an adverse effect on me,” he said.

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The university said the secretary of the senate wrote to advise the two students of its decision on 15 March.

It added the two students were welcome to reapply to the respective programmes once they demonstrated they met the minimum requirements.

“It is also worrying that a student could be excluded and deregistered from the university on the basis that their supervisor was under investigation.

“My understanding is that the admission of a student is done following extensive selection and admission processes and that no single individual in the university has the authority to admit students, and if that’s the case, it is cause for concern,” said Mabuyane.

“Nonetheless, it is on this basis that I have requested the university to provide me with reasons for their decision and thus expressed my intention to appeal the senate outcomes, including a possible judicial review if needs be.

“I therefore appeal that the media and the public allow this process to unfold and as such I would not be commenting further on the matter. I remain committed to the fight against corruption and fraud as well as the programme of renewing our movement and our country, and that no attempts will detract us from carrying out this work,” he added.

In October, the Sunday Times reported how Gomba was allowed to register for three academic years despite not meeting the criteria for a postgraduate qualification since she did not possess a junior degree.

The university was quoted by the newspaper as saying Gomba’s admission for an honours degree was irregular.


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