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Indian-Origin Trio arrested for allegedly selling seats to Indian Students to Health Science Courses at University in South Africa

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Image used for representational Purpose. Pixabay

Johannesburg, May 16, 2017: Three Indian-origin persons were arrested here by police for allegedly selling seats to Indian students to study medicine and other health science courses at a university in South Africa.

Accused Varsha (44) and Hiteshkumar Bhatt (46) are the owners of Durban’s “Little Gujarat” restaurant while Preshni Hiramun (55) is a former school teacher.

The trio is accused of working as agents in conspiring together with a syndicate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa to illegally enrol students in the health science faculty and school of medicine, news portal Independent online reported on Monday.

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The accused chatted to interested parents, negotiated bribes and liaised with university staff who helped get the parents’ children enrolled, according to the report.

This was done even though the students involved did not meet the minimum requirements for the courses. The three suspects allegedly charged R250,000 ($19,000) for admission to the health sciences faculty.

They charged R500,000 ($38,000) for a place in medicine. The reports also said that the trio was involved in the sale of examination question and answer papers for an additional R30,000 ($2,278).

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The trio were charged with fraud and contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act and were later granted R40,000 ($3,000) bail each in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Their arrest came after a sting operation was conducted by a weekly newspaper on Sunday.

The elite Hawks Organised Crime Unit raided the homes and businesses of the three accused and arrested them last week. Their passports were confiscated and they have been asked to report to the Durban North Police station once a week.

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Police seized two Mercedes-Benz cars, laptops, hard-drives and flash drives from the Bhatts. At Hiramun’s home in Somerset Park, laptops were found hidden in a washing machine, the report said.

Documents pertaining to the syndicate were also seized, according to the report. The trio was also asked to refrain from contacting any witnesses or staff at UKZN.

Hawks investigator Mandla Mkhwanazi said more arrests were on the cards and that the investigation was at a sensitive stage hence too much information could not be divulged.

The accused will appear in court again in August for the state to prepare its investigation. (IANS)

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South Africa: Unemployment Reaches at Highest Level in a Decade at 29%

It is the latest grim report for Africa's most developed economy, which in May announced that growth had dropped by the most in a decade during the first quarter

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks at the opening day of the International Labour Organization's annual labor conference in Geneva, Switzerland, June 10, 2019. VOA

South Africa says unemployment has reached its highest level in a decade at 29%. Second-quarter figures released Tuesday show the number of unemployed rose by 573,000 over the past year, with only 21,000 jobs created. It is the latest grim report for Africa’s most developed economy, which in May announced that growth had dropped by the most in a decade during the first quarter.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration is under public pressure to turn around the economy and clean up corruption. That dissatisfaction led to the worst election showing in 25 years for Ramaphosa’s ruling African National Congress in May.

The unemployment numbers were released on the same day that South Africa’s struggling state-owned power utility Eskom announced losses of more than 20 billion rand ($1.4 billion) last fiscal year. Eskom supplies about 95% of the country’s electricity and is at the center of Ramaphosa’s efforts to rid state-owned enterprises of corruption and mismanagement.

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Second-quarter figures released Tuesday show the number of unemployed rose by 573,000 over the past year, with only 21,000 jobs created. (Representational Image) Pixabay 

When Ramaphosa won election in May “we expected a solid emergency plan to address the economic challenges and these unemployment challenges,” Lumkile Mondi, an economics lecturer at Witwatersrand University, told The Associated Press.

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“But that has not been forthcoming and all we have had so far has been political bickering. The ruling party is more concerned about the politics of power than the health of the economy. That is why these figures were not necessarily unexpected,” Mondi said.

The ruling ANC faces an internal struggle between allies of Ramaphosa and former president Jacob Zuma, who led South Africa from 2009 to 2018 when he resigned under party pressure amid corruption allegations and was replaced by his former deputy Ramaphosa. (VOA)