An Eastern Cape medical student studying in Cuba has asked authorities to allow him to graduate after he was expelled from medical school weeks before he could graduate.
Selby Mabokela, 31, of Hlobo in Ngqamakhwe, near Butterworthwas suspended from Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences for three years last month after he and a fellow KwaZulu-Natal student allegedly abducted two young Cuban women had.
Mabokela says the women were part of a trio who robbed her and they were simply trying to get her to return their belongings.
The women weren’t classmates .
Mabokela is one of a group of SA students studying medicine in Cuba as part of the Mandela-Castro Medical Collaboration Program.
He was three weeks from graduation, when the disciplinary decision was made.
< p> In conversation with DispatchLIVE, from his home in Hlobo, told Mabokela that no criminal case had been opened for her kidnapping.
“One evening we left our dorm to buy cigarettes. We went to a place full of young Cubans drinking alcohol.
“After we left the place, three Cubans, a man and two women, followed us to ask for cigarettes.”
< Mabokela said they gave the Cubans some cigarettes. "The guy wanted to see my phone and while I was trying to answer it he grabbed it and they all ran away. We have taken up the pursuit. The guy ran quickly but we managed to arrest the two women hoping they would help us get my phone back.” Mabokela said dorm security officials told them to release the women.
“We told them we’d let them go if they called the guy to give me my cell phone. Eventually they called the guy and we got my cell phone back.”
The security officers asked Mabokela to open a robbery case against the Cuban, he said.
“I did affirmed a few weeks before leaving Cuba. That meant I wouldn’t have time to attend a court hearing. So I was surprised when we got a call from the university saying we were being suspended for disciplinary violations.”
Dispatch saw the medical school’s suspension letter in Spanish. Mabokela is alleged to have committed a “serious criminal offense” and imposed two previous sanctions on him.
Mabokela admitted to DispatchLIVE that one of the previous incidents involved the assault of a woman, a fellow student.< /p>
Translated into English, the letter states that Mabokela “brought two young people into his room against their will and threatened them until his cell phone turned up, in addition to ill-treating leaders and officials who came around under the influence of alcohol to try to bring the situation under control.”
Mabokela, who was set to become the first graduate in his family, is asking the authorities to allow him to finish his studies even if he can means he finishes his studies at a South African medical school. He said his mother was a domestic worker and lived in a shack in Duncan village.
Family spokesman adv Chuma Nonkelela said Mabokela was devastated.
“I believe the decision to suspending her was tough because no criminal case was opened.
“We are appealing to the South African Department of Health to intervene and let her complete her studies.
“This young man should return to South Africa and go straight to work, but now he’s sitting at home,” Nonkelela said.
Provincial health spokesperson Yonela Dekeda said, “The health attaché in Cuba has just confirmed that the student’s appeal appealed against the suspension, but the school has not changed its position.
“[The Attaché ] has since escalated the matter to the Deputy Minister of Health (Dr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo) to speak with the Cuban Minister of Health, who is in SA to in the Sackg Asse to intervene and ask the Cuban medical school to reconsider its position.
“The department will await the outcome of the meeting with the two ministers,” Dekeda said.
Dr. Mpumzi Mdledle, clinical manager at Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, who was also studying in Cuba, appealed to the authorities to acquit Mabokela and the KZN student. Previously, he helped SA students studying medicine in Cuba who were facing challenges abroad.
“Our Ministry of Health in SA should humbly apologize to the Cuban Ministry of Health on behalf of these two boys,” Mdledle said.
“This Mandela Month, I want us to reflect on one of Tata Nelson Mandela’s qualities, which is forgiveness. Tata loved children so much and believed in them. It’s a learning curve for them and it’s part of the growth.
“These two children have learned from their mistakes, and others in Cuba have also learned from this predicament. Let’s give them another chance to prove themselves.”
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