Publication: Independent Online
Reporter: Bronwyn Gerretsen
Chippy's Links to Professor Still a Puzzle
allegations against former arms procurement chief Chippy Shaik are still being
investigated by the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
One of the questions
that remains to be answered is what his professors would
gain from allegedly assisting him plagiarise his doctoral
Also baffling is how Shaik and
Professor Viktor Verijenko, the former head of the School of Mechanical
Engineering, appeared to be such close friends, particularly because they
appeared to have had very little in common.
Shaik was part of a team
responsible for negotiating arms deals
Verijenko and Shaik were reported
to have been business associates as well as friends, with Shaik filling the role
of best man at Verijenko's wedding five years ago.
Another possible link,
discussed in various media and academic circles but not confirmed, was Shaik's
former position as head of arms procurement for the department of defence and
the contract Verijenko entered into in 1999 with the Armaments Corporation of
South Africa (Armscor).
Armscor spokesperson Bertus Celliers said the
contract with Verijenko was for the development of new technology for "smart
bolts" that could be used in the safety of critical structures such as aircraft
frames and wings.
Armscor is the officially appointed acquisition
organisation for the South African department of defence and, with the approval
of the minister of defence, renders an acquisition service to other government
departments and public entities.
As head of arms procurement, Shaik was
part of a team responsible for negotiating arms deals.
'This is a public
Richard Young, a whistle-blower on the government's
controversial R65-billion arms deal, said he had been trying to piece together
the circumstances surrounding the "friendship" between Shaik and
"Verijenko is 55-years-old and has only been in South Africa
for 16 years. The two move in different social, academic and even geographical
"I guess that Verijenko, through his membership of Advanced
Manufacturing Technology Strategy, was put in touch with Chippy," said
Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy is a cabinet approved
national strategy of the department of science and
Implementation of the strategy focuses on the automotive and
aerospace industries, and according to Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Strategy's website "relies on dynamic collaboration between industry, academia
and science councils".
"A big thing for the likes of Armscor is
funding... and the chief of acquisitions at the department of defence was Chippy
Shaik," Young said.
However, he conceded those connections were "just
suspicions" and he was unable to confirm them.
"It is a reasonable question, to me, to ask why
a supervisor would assist a student. This is a public
interest question," he said.
Shaik registered for his PhD in
November 1996 as a part-time student.
During that time, he was based in
Pretoria and served as the head of acquisition from 1997 to
Verijenko's contract agreement with Armscor was in
Shaik changed his registration status from that of a part-time to a
full-time student in 2002 and submitted his thesis six
Yunus Shaik, Chippy's brother and attorney for both
him and Verijenko, said they were not friends but shared a "supervisor/student" relationship *1.
He said the
two did not know each other before Shaik registered for his PhD.
article was originally published on page 6 of The Mercury on May 31,
With acknowledgements to Bronwyn Gerretsen
and Independent Online.
*1 And the student would be best
man at the supervisor's wedding?
To me, it is a reasonable question to
ask. This is a public interest question.