The tragic death of Professor Gregory Kamwendo has underscored several ugly truths about South Africa, starting with the uncomfortable reality that crime affects the entire community even the academia which in the past was a respected and esteemed space for critical engagement.
The ongoing reports on the murder of the late Prof Gregory Kamwendo, the Dean of Arts at the University of Zululand are unfortunate as they have distorted vital facts of the matter. We have noted with shock that speculations and pre-emptive arguments are widespread on the motive of the murder. Yet the law enforcement investigators of the case have not made any public statement on the motive of the killing. The University therefore distances itself from such speculations which are tarnishing and ill-informed views which are aimed at denting the reputation of both Professor Kamwendo and this legacy institution.
Putting the speculation into perspective the management at the University of Zululand (of which Professor Kamwendo was part of) has not undertaken any investigation into the awarding of fake PhD qualifications as it is claimed in widespread statements. However during the endorsement period for students who qualify or do not qualify for graduation purposes (in 2017 and 2018), the Higher Degrees Committee and Senate discovered that some of the presented dissertations were found not to comply with the policy imperatives. Therefore Management (including Prof Kamwendo) diligently applied the University of Zululand’s policies that govern and regulate the quality assurance as well as the integrity of its Post-Graduate administration, supervision and the eventual graduation of these candidates. In this process it became clear in certain instances that some of the presented dissertations/theses had procedural and quality shortcomings. The implication for this exercise resulted in disciplinary processes being instituted against the perpetrators who happened to be the supervisors and academic staff of the University. Unfortunately it has become a norm that when the perpetrators, who have connections in higher places are disciplined by management, the blame is shifted to management and accused of maladministration practises and victimisation of staff. It is these disruptive tendencies that continue to undermine the management of UNIZULU internally and nationally.
It is the view of the University that Professor Kamwendo could have been a victim of this continuation of undermining the leadership through mafia tendencies hence his tragic assassination and untimely death. The University urges that the case should be allowed to follow all due processes without misrepresentations and fabrication of facts and justice must be done. We denounce the tendency that when people are subjected to university legal processes they resort to alternate disruptive strategies of blackmailing and undermining the integrity of the institution and the processes. This time around we refuse to be silenced and intimidated at the expense of the great loss of our esteemed Professor.
The University is committed to provision of quality Teaching & Learning, Research & Community Engagement. One of the key and ongoing objectives of UNIZULU is to recruit and retain a qualified cohort of staff. To this end, UNIZULU, has over the years and as part of the recruitment process, been verifying staff educational qualifications through Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE), an agency contracted for this purpose. Those staff members who joined UNIZULU before this verification process was implemented, had to give their consent for their qualifications to be verified and the exercise is still ongoing. Whilst this exercise has been perceived by some as negative and threatening, the reality is that recently, some employees went through disciplinary processes and were dismissed for fraud/gross dishonesty having misrepresented their educational qualifications. This has been worsened by the fact that some UNIZULU ex-employees were found guilty of not being in possession of the qualifications which they had claimed to possess whilst at UNIZULU.
The presented fake qualifications were not from the University of Zululand but from other institutions locally and abroad.
It is unfortunate that the desire to restore and uphold excellence at the University of Zululand has been a burden for some, and Professor Kamwendo was one of those who bore the brunt.
The University wishes to honour our late Professor Kamwendo as the trusted and committed scholar who upheld the university’s integrity in the highest regard. We honour his legacy and unwavering commitment to quality education.
In conclusion, the University wishes to thank the law enforcement investigators for the work done this far.
WE SALUTE THE SPIRIT OF PROFESSOR KAMWENDO, MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE