Mabuyane threatens university with court action after failing to get into master's programme

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Premier Oscar Mabuyane.
Premier Oscar Mabuyane.
Luvuyo Mehlwana
  • Oscar Mabuyane said if the university failed to reverse his deregistration, he would make them do so in court.  
  • He was excluded and deregistered from the university's master's programme for not meeting minimum requirements.  
  • The university said it had no record of Mabuyane's RPL (recognition of prior learning) portfolio having been assessed as per its rules.

Oscar Mabuyane says if the University of Fort Hare fails to reverse his deregistration, he will make them do so in a court of law.

Mabuyane said this in a message communicated to News24 by his office.

This week, Mabuyane, the chairman of the ANC in the Eastern Cape, submitted a letter to the university through his lawyer threatening to launch legal action if the university council failed to overturn the decision. 

Mabuyane was deregistered in March for not meeting minimum requirements for the university's master's programme. 

The university had also found that there were irregularities in his admission to the programme. 

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

Mabuyane's deregistration was linked to a scandal involving former professor of public sector economics at Fort Hare, Edwin Okey Chikata Ijeoma, who recently had his citizenship revoked.

The academic was Mabuyane's supervisor. 

Admission

The university had laid criminal charges against Ijeoma for the irregular admission and registration of two students, including Mabuyane. 

Mabuyane's spokesperson Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha said he was challenging the deregistration because he believed the decision was un-procedural and unfair. 

"I can confirm that premier's lawyers have written to the university as part of engaging the university on this matter. The grounds for this action is that he strongly feels that the university did not treat him fairly as a student and he does not want to be given preferential treatment.

"He wants to be given the treatment that all the university students deserve, according to the policy and statutes of the university and he feels that the way this matter was handled is un-procedural and unfair." 

I can confirm that if this engagement with the university doesn't yield positive results, we will make the university to do things according to their own policy and procedure. Our options are on the table.

The university, however, told News24 that it was prepared to defend its decision. 

Spokesperson Jenay Petrus confirmed receipt of the letter from Mabuyane's lawyers and said the university would not back down.

"The university has made its position clear: the issue is that the University of Fort Hare has no record of the student's RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) portfolio having been assessed as per the university's rules.

Portfolio

"All we're asking for is that the student produces proof to support his claim that he submitted such a portfolio and it was successfully assessed. Our records indicate the student was admitted and registered without meeting any of the minimum requirements for admission into the Master of Administration.

"The student claims to have been admitted through Recognition of Prior Learning," said Petrus.    

Ijeoma resigned after he was placed on suspension on allegations that he irregularly registered axed health MEC Sindiswa Gomba for an Honours degree in Public Administration.

READ | SA Union of Students backs Mabuyane in his plan to fight Fort Hare

The university further opened a case of theft of a university vehicle and fraud worth R5 million. 

The university also accused Ijeoma of doing sketchy and unauthorised academic work and for allegedly doing programmes for the Eastern Cape provincial legislature, various provincial departments and municipal authorities without the knowledge and consent of the university.

The case is being investigated by the Hawks. 

Hawks spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela said an investigation into the matter had not yet been concluded. 

Ijeoma is currently in police custody after he was arrested by the police for car theft.

On Thursday he applied for bail at the Zwelitsha Magistrate's Court. The matter was postponed to 12 May for further investigations.

The National Prosecuting Authority could not respond immediately with regards to the outcome of the bail application.

Their comment will be added once received.

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