A recent report shows that the University of Zululand in Empangeni has been roped in for a degrees-for-cash scandal as it has been revealed that the university has issued out about 4,000 fake degrees over the past 20 years.
This was revealed after an extra-ordinary senate meeting held on Monday, where officials proposed to investigate all postgraduate degrees in Law, Business Management, Public Administration and Education.
According to Sunday times newspaper, two university of Zululand employees, an internal investigating officer and an examination official were suspended last month in connection with the scam and even the present and former students have threatened via social media to name those who are believed to have purchased fake qualifications on the university’s two campuses in Richards Bay and KwaDlangezwa noted to be the root of all the scam.
The university has approximately 16,000 students and the alleged degrees-for-sale scandal is believed to have taken place on the university’s expanded campuses in Kwa-Dlangezwa and Richards Bay, with the latest scam involving between 400 and 500 fake degrees for teaching qualifications.
The newspaper reported while citing an investigating officer Captain Louis Helberg, that sources on campus said that as many as 4,000 people had bought their academic qualifications from the university since 1996.
Reports are rife that the investigation was brought to light after a University of Zululand graduate who applied for a position was unable to speak any English language during an interview conducted by staff members.
The paper also reported that R260 000 was made from selling 15 fake degrees while five staff members were suspended in 1997 after accepting money to alter student records and in 2007, 80 students without matric certificates were de-registered after bribing university officials in order to get their hands on the university’s entrance exams.
In 2009 also, South African Airways board chair Dudu Myeni came under fire for claiming to have a BA Degree from the university but later clarified that she was studying towards the degree.
To all these, the university Of Zululand Deputy Vice Chancellor Neil Garrod said those officials who claimed to have degrees are not from the university and that “Any false document they may have would have been generated outside the university system”
The institution’s officials therefore denied the possibility of buying degree from the university, saying the university cannot control fake documents generated outside its system.”
Corruption watch has earlier lamented the increased rate of corruption in schools and higher institutions. The organization said as of July 2015, it had received at least 1 000 reports of corruption at schools across the country with most of them involving school officials.
Former student tutor Lucky Khanyile revealed how he tampered with the results of more than 1,000 students who had failed in 2007 and 2008, charging them between R500 and R5 000 per module.
Himself and another student tutor Bongekile Manqele, were convicted of fraud in February 2014 and sentenced to a five-year suspended jail sentence, a fine, 16 hours’ community service and six months under house arrest.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was asked to launch an official probe into the scandal.
Read the full article in the 31 July 2016 edition of the Sunday Times.