Life sentence for murderers of University of Zululand professor

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Gregory Kamwendo.
Gregory Kamwendo.
University of Zululand
  • Two men have been handed life sentences for the murder of former University of Zululand dean Professor Gregory Kamwendo.
  • Oscar Mkhuliseni Mthiyane and Selby Nkuna shot and killed Kamwendo in front on his Empangeni home.
  • At the time, it was speculated that the murder may have been linked to irregularities in the awarding of PhD qualifications.

Two men have been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of former University of Zululand dean Professor Gregory Kamwendo.

Kamwendo, 53, was shot at his home in Empangeni on 22 May 2018. At around 17:15, Kamwendo parked his vehicle outside a flat in Durford Road. While in the vehicle, he was shot and killed by two men, said police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala.

"He sustained multiple gunshot wounds in the upper body and was declared dead at the scene," Gwala said.

Kamwendo held the position of University of Zululand dean of the faculty of arts at the time of the shooting.

He served the university from 2016 following his tenure as the dean of the College of Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

At the time, it was widely reported that Kamwendo was killed after allegedly uncovering a fraudulent PhD syndicate at the institution. The university, however, denied this in a statement and said vital facts had been distorted.

The university said the allegedly erroneous reports were aimed at denting the reputation of both Kamwendo and the institution.

It said Kamwendo did not undertake any investigation into the alleged awarding of fake PhD qualifications.

The university did, however, concede that for the period 2017-18 the higher degrees committee and senate "discovered that some of the presented dissertations were found not to comply with the policy imperatives".

This resulted in disciplinary processes being instituted against the supervisors and academic staff involved.

The university said it believed Kamwendo could have been a victim of staff members who "continued undermining the leadership through mafia tendencies".

In November 2018, investigating officers made a breakthrough and linked the two accused – Oscar Mkhuliseni Mthiyane, 53, and Selby Nkuna, 49 – to the case.

"They were tried in court and made several court appearances until they were sentenced. The investigation conducted revealed that Nkuna was a lecturer working at the same institution as the deceased," Gwala said.

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