Managed Integrity Evaluation

DESPITE being made aware of serious allegations of CV fraud against former dean of arts Professor Velile Notshulwana during interviews, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University still gave him the job as head of the family studies unit.

Zandile Mbabela

07 August 2014


Why varsity still gave Prof job

Allegations of CV misrepresentation surfaced in the week of March 26 - leading up to the panel interview - when one of the panellists, Professor Piet Naude, opened an envelope from an anonymous person in preparation for the interview.

The panel, led by the deputy vice-chancellor for research and engagement, Professor Thoko Mayekiso, gave the go-ahead for his appointment despite the question marks around Notshul-wana`s work experience and whether he had in fact obtained his doctoral degree.

Speaking on behalf of the university yesterday, Naude said on hearing the allegations, the university began an internal investigation, which was now at an advanced stage.

"We are not denying that there are questions but what I cannot tell is what the answer is to those questions because our process will have to tell us.

"What happened is that when we put those questions to our colleague, he did not immediately respond to our questions.

"He then approached his own lawyers to protect his rights and his lawyers wrote a letter to us. Our lawyers responded, so at the moment we are at that level," he said.

Naude said the major issues being probed were his doctoral degree from Southern California University, journals he claimed to have co-authored and whether he had supervised PhD students as stated in his CV.

"Our big issue was that he must give us permission to verify his doctoral degree and I can confirm now that he has given that permission, so we will proceed," he said.

"I cannot tell you what the outcome will be. We will have to see what that information yields and we will then act in the light of that.

"He might have a perfectly legitimate explanation and then it`s done. If there`s not one, thenobviously we will have to see.

"Naude said NMMU could not have prevented Notshulwana from getting the family studies unit job at the time as there was no proof that the allegations were true.

"If I receive an allegation about your CV, that might be [mischievous]. Somebody might not like you and try to undermine you.

"So we can`t just take [the allegation] and say it`s the truth," he said. "We did our own initial checks and that takes some time because it`s all over the place.

"There were three issues at stake - the postgraduate students that he claims to have led toward their PhDs, his qualifications, specifically the doctorate, and the authorship of articles.

"The university said yesterday potential employees were vetted by an independent company, Managed Integrity Evaluation Pty Ltd, and it had no reason to doubt clearances given by the company.

"In the case of Prof Notshul-wana`s initial appointment as dean of arts in 2009, the university followed this process and no information was brought to our attention by the verifica-tion agency, Kroll [Managed Integrity Evaluation], to doubt the material claims made in the CV," Naude said.

"As we process hundreds of applications every year, the university has to rely on the veracity of the background checks by verification services, unless otherwise proven.

"Notshulwana`s tenure as the dean of arts would have ended next month, but he was instrumental in setting up the new family studies unit that he now heads.

Asked about the fact that four months into NMMU`s internal investigation, Notshulwana was still in office, Naude said the university could not act until the process was completed.

"We first met him on May 26 in [my office] to put to him that our initial investigation posed questions that we wanted him to answer."It was at that stage that he went away with those questions and did not provide us directly with those answers, and [said] that he prefers to work through the lawyers - and that process is at an advanced stage," Naude said.

Zandile Mbabela, Kathryn Kimberley and Michael Kimberley

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