The university has taken issue with the newspaper for promising to unpack a KPMG forensic report.
DURBAN – THE University of KwaZulu-Natal has threatened to interdict the Sunday Tribune in a bid to stop the publication from printing an exposé this Sunday.
In their letter to the Tribune, UKZN lawyers said the investigation into the selling of admission places into the university’s medical school and other faculties was at a sensitive stage.
The university has taken issue with the newspaper for promising to “unpack the KPMG forensic report and the roleplayers behind the syndicate”. The newspaper had made the announcement on Thursday afternoon in an online story titled ‘BREAKING: 286 UKZN staffers face probe over selling places’.
The auditing firm was commissioned by the university to investigate allegations of corruption in November last year. It was paid R1.4m for the report, but the report is yet to be publicly released to the university community and the public.
This week, medicine students at the university’s medical campus brought teaching and learning to a halt as they demanded the release over the report.
A meeting between Council and the student leadership is expected to take place on Monday.
In a lawyer’s letter to the newspaper on Friday, legal representatives of UKZN claimed the newspaper had published an inaccurate online report on Thursday while reporting on a raid. They demanded a retraction and an apology.
The university, through its lawyers, further said: “The KMPG forensic report which you refer to is confidential and is highly sensitive given the role it plays in these investigations. You will therefore appreciate that your intended article will have the effect of jeopardising the entire investigation which is already highly sensitized particularly if the article intends to disclose the role players in the syndicate”.
Mazwi Xaba, the editor of the Sunday Tribune, said the newspaper would go ahead with the story this weekend.
“We intend going ahead, our reporter has done a great job exposing corruption at this great institution,” he said.
Xaba said the Tribune was only doing the job expected of it by the student community and the public at large.
“The students have brought teaching and learning to a standstill demanding the contents of this report be published. We can’t understand why it’s taking so long for the powers that be to expose the kingpins that are involved and take action against them. Exposing them will be in the public interest. It’s what journalism is all about.”