- Oscar Mabuyane says he intends to appeal the decision taken by the University of Fort Hare's senate to deregister him.
- Mabuyane’s deregistration is linked to the scandal involving former professor of public sector economics at Fort Hare Edwin Okey Chikata Ijeoma who recently had his citizenship revoked.
- The SA Union of Students said Mabuyane was being treated unfairly by the university.
The South African Union of Students (SAUS) has thrown its weight behind Eastern Cape ANC chairman and Premier of the province Oscar Mabuyane, who is planning to fight his exclusion and deregistration by the University of Fort Hare.
Mabuyane was deregistered for not meeting minimum requirements for the university’s master’s programme, and after finding irregularities in his admission to the programme.
He has since vowed to appeal the decision taken by the university senate in a meeting on 12 March.
Mabuyane’s deregistration is linked to the scandal involving former professor of public sector economics at Fort Hare Edwin Okey Chikata Ijeoma who recently had his citizenship revoked.
The Nigerian academic was Mabuyane’s supervisor.
Ijeoma, was placed on suspension at the time because of allegations that he irregularly registered axed health MEC Sindiswa Gomba for an honours degree in public administration.
The university confirmed that it excluded and deregistered two students linked to Ijeoma.
The university said the deregistered students are welcome to appeal.
“In the case of Mr Mabuyane, the South African Union of Students would like to put it on record that he did not admit himself, he did not issue out an ethical clearance to himself and neither did he allocate a new supervisor to himself.
It is the University that is messing up things. For the record and in line with recognition of prior learning (RPL) criteria for admission, Mr Oscar Mabuyane is more (than) qualified to study for the master’s degree in public administration and he is qualified more than even some PhD students in public administration because of unmatched experience of more than 10 years in public administration. We hope that the Vice-Chancellor is not being used by well-known established political factions to discredit the good leadership of the honourable Premier of the Eastern Cape Province.”
In a statement to News24 on Friday, SAUS called upon the Department of Higher Education and Training to urgently appoint a DHET oversight Committee as recommend by the Independent Assessor's report to take a close look at Fort Hare matters, inclusive of the academic enterprise and admission policies.
Meanwhile, the University of Fort Hare convocation led by its president Advocate Andile Mini has called for an independent probe to investigate the matter including systems, processes, and controls of the university's admission and processing of students through the Master's in Public Administration Programme.
The convocation said the management of Fort Hare including the senate, faculty board, officials, and administrators, cannot be tasked to investigate themselves because they were the ones who implemented the same policies that have been systematically breached.
SAUS said the reasons offered by the university for the deregistration of the two students are weak and are invalid.
The University of Fort Hare said the deregistration of 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.
“The Premier of Eastern Cape is not being treated fairly by the University of Fort Hare. He is like any other student and our knowledge as SAUS is that when outstanding information and documents are missing on your application and admission, a caring university allows you to submit these documents instead of just deregistering a student.
Here we are talking about a student who was admitted some three years ago (who has) already used time, resources, money and effort in research, left with one year to graduate and the same university that admitted him is now deregistering him. What about all the time he has invested in his studies?” said SAUS.
Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.