The murder of University of Zululand (UniZulu) professor Gregory Kamwendo was at first thought to be due to his uncovering of a syndicate at the institution issuing fraudulent PhD qualifications.
However, Mail & Guardian have reported that there was allegedly more to the murder than the qualification syndicate.
The professor was gunned down in May this year at his home in Empangeni.
It is alleged the Unizulu lecturer who was arrested in connection with Kamwendo’s murder paid an assassin R10,000 to kill the professor, which he reportedly admitted to doing.
The suspect alleged to have orchestrated the hit, Zweli Nkuna, a former UniZulu sociology lecturer, reportedly had a long-standing grudge against Kamwendo, sparked by a student claiming that Nkuna assaulted him in 2015.
Kamwendo reportedly testified against Nkuna at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) hearing in 2016, criticising his conduct towards the student as a lecturer.
Nkuna allegedly denied the claims that he assaulted a student, as well as the fact that his relationship with UniZulu staff, notably Kamwendo, was strained.
The CCMA ruled in favour of Nkuna, and he was reinstated and paid R160 000. UniZulu spokesperson Gcina Nhleko-Mdluli told the Mail & Guardian that the university had filed to appeal the CCMA ruling.
After this, it is reported that Kamwendo had received a death threat from Nkuna in 2017.
Police investigations to catch the man hired to kill Kamwendo, and possibly more people involved in the hit, are ongoing.