News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday October 2nd 2014

University official confiscates passports, threatens Angolan students

10.02.2013

Two Angolan students, accused of fraudulently obtaining permits to study at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, have approached the Western Cape High Court for an order to allow them to attend classes.

In an affidavit filed with the court, Marta and Hamilton Queta claimed that though they had been accepted at the university and each paid R1 750 for reservation of placements, they had been victimised and denied an opportunity to study after being told applications were fraudulent.

They say when they went to register on January 24, “much to their horror” admissions officer Mziyikayise Shakespeare Binza threatened to confiscate and “rip out” the study permits out of their passports.

They said he went on to confiscate their passports and only returned them on February 2 after the intervention of their lawyer.

They said Binza had threatened to call police to arrest them and vowed to make their lives “as difficult” he could.

Citing fear of arrest, detention and being deported home, they said they were forced to lie that they had paid R3 500 to one “Antonio” (university official) in order to secure their places there.

In the affidavit, they reiterated that they did not bribe anyone, which was confirmed by “Antonio”.

They complained that that university was not indicating when it would finalise its investigation into the matter and allow them to take up their studies in human resources management.

They said they had spent about R50 000 to travel from Angola, obtain permits and take up studies at the university.

They said if the court does not rule in their favour, they would be “forced to return to Angola without an education, which would cause us irreparable harm”.

Braam Hanekom, chairman of refugee rights group People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (Passop), slammed the university for its “maladministration, which had turned into abuse of two foreign students”.

He said the university was “completely out of order” and had no right to confiscate their passport, threaten them with deportation or arrest.

Hanekom said the demands by the students in their court papers were not “unreasonable”, adding that he did not believe they would have turned to the court if they were guilty of bribery or fraud.

He said this was a “clear cut case” in which the university should apologise to the students and allow them to take up their studies as soon as possible.

He highlighted that his organisation would be monitoring the case to be heard in the High Court today.

By the time of going to print, the university had not responded on the matter despite repeated efforts to obtain comment from them. – Francis Hweshe

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