The Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences has suspended Selby Mabokela, a South African medical student who allegedly kidnapped two Cuban women, for three years, according to the local newspaper Dispatch. The 31-year-old student, who received the sanction three weeks before being able to graduate, pleads with the Cuban authorities to allow him to finish his studies.
Mabokela, who is back at his home in Hlobo, spoke to the South African newspaper, to which he told that the allegedly kidnapped women had robbed him and alleges that his objective was to recover what was stolen, not in vain he has not opened a process for any crime in Cuba, fencing.
The student assures that they asked the young women to contact their friend and let them go, which, according to his testimony, happened
The student recounts that one night he left the residence with several colleagues to buy cigarettes and they came to an area where several young Cubans were drinking alcohol. As they left, a man and two women followed them and came over to ask them for something to smoke. “The guy wanted to see my cell phone and, while I was trying to answer him, he grabbed it and they all ran away,” Mabokela describes, adding that a chase began in which they only caught up with the Cuban women.
The student assures that they asked the young women to contact their friend and let them go, which, according to his testimony, happened. However, security agents from the residence, who had already intervened to warn them that they should let the women go, threatened to report him for robbing the Cuban.
“I said it was only a few weeks before I left Cuba,” says Mabokela. “So I was surprised when the University called us and told us that we were going to be suspended for lack of discipline.”
The letter from the University, to which he had access Dispatchalleges that the offense is serious and that the student already had two sanctions, one of them, admits Mabokela, for assaulting a fellow student.
“He put two young men in his room against their will, holding them under threat, until his cell phone appeared, in addition to mistreating the student leaders and officials who came to try to control the situation, while he was under the influence of alcohol”, details the sanction.
The relatives of Mabokela, who was to be the first graduate in his family, consider that he is the victim of what happened and that if he had not held the girls he would not have recovered his phone.
“I think the decision to suspend them was a tough one because no criminal case was opened. We are appealing to the South African Ministry of Health to intervene and allow them to finish their studies. It was expected that when the young man came back he would go straight to work, but now he is sitting at home,” said Chuma Nonkelela, a spokesman for the family.
The newspaper asked the provincial spokesman for Health, Yonela Dekeda, who confirmed that the student has appealed the decision but the University is firm
The newspaper asked the provincial spokesman for Health, Yonela Dekeda, who confirmed that the student has appealed the decision but the University is firm. Given this situation, the case has been submitted to the Deputy Minister of Health, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, so that he can talk with the Cuban Minister of Public Health, José Ángel Portal Miranda, and request his mediation.
“The department will await the outcome of the meeting with the two ministers,” Dekeda said. In 2021, Dhlomo asked the population to refrain from going viral a video in which the Cuban police beat South African students to avoid sensationalism. “It has the potential to harm the families of the students and the diplomatic relations between the governments of South Africa and Cuba,” he argued at the time.
The South African newspaper spoke with the manager of the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, who studied in Cuba and has acted as a mediator to facilitate the integration of other students on the island. Dr. Mpumzi Mdledle has given his support to Mabokela, whom he describes as a child , and asks Cuba to forgive him, evoking the spirit of Mandela.
“Our Ministry of Health should humbly apologize to the Cuban on behalf of these two children,” he said. “In this Mandela month, I would like us to reflect on one of the qualities of Tata Nelson Mandela, which is forgiveness. Tata loved children very much and believed in them. It is a learning curve for them and it is part of growing up. These two kids have learned from their mistake. Let’s give them another chance to prove their worth.”
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