Pro­fes­sor’s sus­pected killers in the dock

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - NEWS - Or­rin Singh

THE case against two men ac­cused of mur­der­ing Univer­sity of Zu­l­u­land (Unizulu) Pro­fes­sor Gre­gory Kamwendo (53), has been post­poned to 12 De­cem­ber for bail ap­pli­ca­tions.

Selby Nkuna (49), a former Unizulu and Univer­sity of KwaZulu-Na­tal em­ployee, and his co ac­cused Os­car Mthiyane (50), be­lieved to be the hired hit man, ap­peared in the Em­pan­geni Mag­is­trate’s Court on Mon­day morn­ing on mur­der charges.

They were ar­rested after months of hard work by Em­pan­geni de­tec­tives fol­low­ing the fa­tal shoot­ing of Kamwendo in May.

Nkuna was ar­rested in Em­pan­geni and Mthiyane in Dundee last Thurs­day.

They will re­main in cus­tody un­til their next ap­pear­ance.

Unizulu has in the mean­time re­futed ‘un­founded al­le­ga­tions’ that Kamwendo, a Malaw­ian na­tional, had un­cov­ered a PhD de­gree fraud syn­di­cate, which could have been the mo­tive for his mur­der.

The al­le­ga­tions sur­faced in a re­port by the Sowe­tan, which al­leged that Nkuna hired Mthiyane for R10 000 to kill Kamwendo.

In a state­ment pub­lished on its web­site, Unizulu noted that ‘the on­go­ing re­ports on the mur­der of Kamwendo, who was the Dean of Arts at Unizulu, are un­for­tu­nate as they have dis­torted vi­tal facts of the mat­ter.

‘We have noted with shock that spec­u­la­tion 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 spec­u­la­tion and ill-in­formed views which are aimed at dent­ing the rep­u­ta­tion of both

Pro­fes­sor Kamwendo and this in­sti­tu­tion.’

In May the ZO re­ported that a source, who knew Kamwendo per­son­ally, said he had held back a num­ber of post­grad­u­ate stu­dents.

‘He was seen as mak­ing his own rules and that an­gered many at times,’ the source said.

‘Be­fore grad­u­a­tion there was some anger I picked up after some post­grad­u­ate stu­dents’ work had been held back as it didn’t meet the cri­te­ria. Kamwendo be­lieved they would be de­clined at higher de­gree level.’

Unizulu re­sponded by say­ing: ‘Dur­ing the en­dorse­ment pe­riod for stu­dents who qual­ify or not 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 qual­ity as­sur­ance, as well as the in­tegrity of its post­grad­u­ate 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 of this ex­er­cise re­sulted in dis­ci­plinary pro­cesses be­ing in­sti­tuted against the per­pe­tra­tors, who hap­pened to be the su­per­vi­sors and aca­demic staff of the univer­sity,’ the univer­sity state­ment said.

‘Un­for­tu­nately, it has be­come the norm that when per­pe­tra­tors who have con­nec­tions in higher places are dis­ci­plined by man­age­ment, the blame is shifted to man­age­ment, who is ac­cused of mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion 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.

‘We de­nounce the ten­dency of 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.

‘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 the late Pro­fes­sor Kamwendo as a trusted and com­mit­ted scholar who held the univer­sity’s in­tegrity in the high­est re­gard.

‘We hon­our his legacy and un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment to qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion,’ the state­ment read.

Pro­fes­sor Gre­gory Kamwendo

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