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Compiled by Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist

Fort Hare University grapples with violence amid corruption clean-up efforts

Violence and intimidation rife at University of Fort Hare as officials attempt to cleanse the institution of corruption.

Chilling details emerged when five suspects appeared in the Dimbaza Magistrate’s Court this week, in connection with the violence and intimidation at Fort Hare University.

As reported by The Sunday Times, Fort Hare fleet manager Petrus Roets requested permission to carry a weapon on campus just months before he was fatally shot.

Fort Hare killings

Criminals launched a violent response against vice-chancellor Professor Sakhela Buhlungu’s corruption clean-up efforts.

More people have since been killed as the university battles deep-rooted corruption

Suspects in court

The Dimbaza court in Eastern Cape heard how Roets applied to carry his firearm in December 2021 after he reportedly uncovered unauthorised payments totalling nearly R1 million.

The payments were made from Fort Hare’s fleet department to vehicle repair shop, Pastiche Car Services. The shop’s owner, Sicelo Mbulawa, is among the men accused of killing Roets.

Meanwhile, Bongani Peter, former acting fleet manager and Mbulawa’s co-accused, approved the payments without Roets’ authorisation.

Corruption allegations

Peter allegedly contracted the service of Pastiche Car Services to repair Fort Hare University’s vehicles in exchange for kickbacks.

Through these transactions, Mbulawa reportedly skimmed millions of rands before Roets lodged a complaint with Fort Hare in March 2022, as per The Sunday Times‘ investigation.

The first attempt on Roets’ life took place that very same month when he was nearly run over by a speeding vehicle.

He was killed in May 2022 while driving home.

Violent attacks and threats

Since the investigations kicked off in 2022, those under investigation have retaliated by threatening investigators and witnesses.

Several cases were opened, including two murders and three attempted murders.

In March 2022, shots were fired at the homes of deputy vice-chancellor Professor Renuka Vithal and Buhlungu in what is believed to have been an attempt at intimidation.

More deaths in April

Earlier this month, a bodyguard for Fort Hare University’s vice-chancellor Buhlungu was killed in a hit-and-run car crash.

At the time, Brigadier Kinana said the bodyguard was escorting three passengers towards Ginsburg when his vehicle was “knocked from the driver’s side by a Nissan NP 300”.

Kinana said the driver died instantly at the scene of the crime (Cambridge Road in King Williams Town), and that the circumstances leading to the incident were being investigated.

READ: Second bodyguard to Fort Hare vice-chancellor killed

The hit-and-run comes three months after Buhlungu’s first bodyguard, Mboneli Vesele, was gunned down in what is suspected to have been an assassination attempt.

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