UKZN challenged to release Med School investigation information

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Durban businessman Visham Panday has turned to the city’s High Court to compel the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) to release information about its multi-million-rand investigation into payment for medical school places, dubbed Operation Clever. According to a Sunday Tribune report, this comes after the institution refused to release information to him despite an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) in July.

Panday has asked the court to set aside UKZN’s decision not to give him the information, that the university’s information officer provide it within 20 days since the papers were lodged in court, and that UKZN pay for the cost of the application. If UKZN decides to oppose the matter it would be heard in court in February.

The report says Operation Clever was instituted more than two years ago after it emerged that students were paying to get into UKZN’s Nelson Mandela Medical School.

In a notice of motion filed in the Durban High Court last week, Panday said he wanted to know the outcome of Operation Clever, and for how long and at what cost UKZN had provided a safe house for Avril Sahadew, the lead investigator in the case. Panday also requested to know how much it cost the university to provide Sahadew with bodyguards.

The report says in its response to Panday’s PAIA application earlier this year, UKZN’s legal representative said it was not a public body, was not obliged to share information with Panday and that its client’s rights “continue to remain strictly reserved in the interim”.

In March, the Sunday Tribune reported that UKZN had secured an interdict to stop Panday from communicating with its employees over the Operation Clever investigation.

Sunday Tribune report

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