Tuesday, 9 August, 2022
HomeNews UpdateCuban medical school suspends SA students for ‘kidnapping’

Cuban medical school suspends SA students for ‘kidnapping’

An Eastern Cape medical student who was studying in Cuba has pleaded with authorities to allow him to complete his degree after being kicked out of the medical school. He was three weeks short of finishing his degree when the disciplinary action was taken.

Selby Mabokela (31), of Hlobo in Ngqamakhwe near Butterworth, was suspended for three years by the Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences last month after he and a fellow student from KwaZulu-Natal allegedly kidnapped two young Cuban women, reports DispatchLIVE.

Mabokela says the women, who were not fellow students, were part of a trio who had robbed him of his cellphone and he and his friend were simply trying to get them to return it.

Speaking to DispatchLIVE from his home in Hlobo, Mabokela said no criminal case of kidnapping had been opened against them.

“One evening we left our campus residence to buy cigarettes. We went to a spot full of young Cubans who were drinking alcohol. When we left, one guy and two women followed us and asked for cigarettes.”

Mabokela said they gave the Cubans some cigarettes. “The guy asked to see my cellphone and then he grabbed it and they all ran away. We chased them but only managed to apprehend the two women with the hope they would help us to get my cellphone back.”

Mabokela said security officers at the residence told them to release the women. “We told them we’d let them go if they’d phone the guy to give me my phone. They eventually called the guy and we got the phone back.”

The security officers told Mabokela to open a case of robbery against the Cuban, he said. “I said I had a few weeks before leaving Cuba, which meant I wouldn’t have time to attend a court case. So I was surprised when we were called by the university and suspended for ill-discipline.”

The letter alleges Mabokela committed a “serious offence” and had two previous sanctions against him. Mabokela admitted to DispatchLIVE that one of the previous incidents included assaulting a woman, a fellow student.

Mabokela, who was to be the first graduate in his family, is pleading with authorities to allow him to finish his studies, even if he ends his degree at a South African medical school. He said his mother was a domestic worker who lives in a shack in Duncan Village.

Family spokesperson Advocate Chuma Nonkelela said Mabokela was devastated. “The decision to suspend them was harsh because no criminal case was opened. We are appealing to the SA health ministry to intervene and let them finish their studies.”

Provincial health spokesperson Yonela Dekeda said: “The health attaché in Cuba has confirmed the student is appealing the suspension but that the school has not changed its position. (The attaché) has since escalated the matter to the Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo) to talk to the Cuban Minister of Health to intervene in the impasse.”


DispatchLIVE article – Cuba expels SA medical student for ‘kidnapping’ two women (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Provinces to pay another R45m for Cuban students following currency ‘miscalculation’


SA medical students assaulted by Cuban police were partying – Dhlomo


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