Calls for independent probe into academic allegations at Fort Hare University

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The convocation of the University of Fort Hare wants an independent investigation into the allegations of academic fraud at the institution. The call comes as the SIU is busy with its investigation into maladministration and fraud at the university, including the alleged academic fraud.

The President of the convocation, Andile Mini, says the convocation approached the management of the institution back in 2021 already regarding the issues of academic admission, and the tarnished image of the university. Mini says their concerns were met with indifference saying the university failed to acknowledge the gravity of the situation.

“The convocation has now escalated the matter to the Minister of Higher Education Blade Ndzimane. In our correspondence to the Minister, we have requested an independent investigation that will focus on academic fraud, we believe that this investigation must be conducted by an independent entity.”

Academic integrity

The University of Fort Hare convocation says while they do not question the capability of the SIU, they believe that investigations into academic fraud require special skills and expertise. The convocation president says the report of such an investigation must provide clear remedial action recommendations and the restoration of the institution’s academic integrity.

“We are saying the investigation that relates to academic fraud is a specialised investigation. Therefore it needs specialised knowledge, which in our view may not be the purview of the SIU. Hence we say the department that processes the neccesary skills and knowlegde is DHED that can deploy experts to come and look at issues of academic fraud.”

Calls for independent probe into UFH academic fraud:

Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape Premier,  Oscar Mabuyane, has amended his court application to interdict the SIU from continuing its investigation into allegations of maladministration and impropriety against him regarding the awarding of degrees at Fort Hare.

Last week, he filed papers citing President Cyril Ramaphosa, the SIU and the University as respondents. He originally intended to ask the court to declare President Ramaphosa’s request for the SIU to investigate maladministration at Fort Hare unlawful and invalid.

Mabuyane now does not want the proclamation to be declared invalid or set aside, just the investigation by the SIU regarding him.

He maintains the investigation into him by the SIU is malicious and designed to cause embarrassment.

In his affidavit, he notes communication with the SIU indicating his willingness to meet and then questions their investigation methods which included a subpoena and the approval of a search and seizure operation on his home after he filed the court application last week.

He says he gave his full co-operation during the investigation, approaching the SIU to do interviews and supplying all requested documents.

He says the SIU investigation is an abuse of power. The matter will be heard on the 13th of June.