Sunday Tribune

How Tribune broke illegal sale of study spots


I WAS tipped off that bribery and corruption were evident in the selling of study places at the University of Kwazulu-natal’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine last year.

After I investigat­ed the allegation­s and met staff and a former employee, the first article was published in The Sunday Tribune on June 26, headlined “For sale: A place in med school”.

There was substantia­l evidence to suggest a syndicate was cheating the medical school’s quota policy in order to get students in unfairly for hundreds of thousands of rand.

This led to numerous articles published regarding a syndicate operating at UKZN and possible links to it.

Several sources contacted me with informatio­n and documentar­y evidence regarding irregular admissions. A whistle-blower sent an anonymous e-mail with a list of students suspected to have been illegally admitted for a bribe of up to R500 000.

The allegation was that the students had lied about their race and passed themselves off as coloured to cheat the quota and secure a place.

The university subsequent­ly instructed audit firm KPMG to conduct a forensic investigat­ion into the allegation­s. A report into the findings was published in the Tribune after it was leaked to me.

During the 2017 admissions, I learnt of illegal admissions by a husband-and-wife team and a woman who apparently could get people into medical school.

One parent said the woman in question was being persistent in trying to sell him a place and even though he did not budge, she offered a discount on the bribe for admission, hoping he would grab the spot.

With the help of a colleague, we called the woman to verify if it was possible to buy a place in the health sciences faculty, and she confirmed that it was.

Having recorded our interactio­ns with the woman, the police were informed of what we had uncovered.

This January, the Tribune learnt that UKZN’S vice-chancellor had already handed the case to the Hawks to investigat­e.

Four months later, arrests have finally been made.

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