Durban Metro Police Inspector, Ms Phindile Ntuli and legal practitioners Mr Mzwandile Khahula and Mr Dudula Maoela were among the six students in the 2021 cohort of the Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Investigation and Criminal Justice who achieved distinctions and celebrated their achievements during the May Graduation season.

Offered by the Centre for Extended Legal Studies in UKZN’s School of Law, the postgraduate diploma programme aims to provide working professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to specialise in the field of forensic investigative accounting – a specialised branch of forensic investigation which uses intelligence-gathering techniques, together with accounting, legal and communication skills, to investigate and provide evidence of crimes of a financial or commercial nature.

Ntuli, a mother of three teenagers who joined the force in 2010 with the goal of bringing about change and showcasing women’s capabilities in the field of law and order, said that the Diploma taught her the importance of paying attention to detail, working hard and collaborating to obtain the desired results. On the value of her new qualification, she said: ‘My goal is to become more involved in investigative inquiries, and with the academic experience I obtained from UKZN, I am confident that many doors will open for me. I am eager to put my passion for Black women’s empowerment and recognition to use in a male-dominated sector.’

UKZN LLB alumnus and Director at Poswa Incorporated, Khahula (32), who specialises in public law litigation, construction law, town planning disputes and forensic investigations believes that the newly-acquired qualification will give him and his practice a competitive edge. He said: ‘Business leaders, entrepreneurs and accounting officers should regard forensic investigation specialists as business partners who offer lifetime business solutions, because forensic investigations practise involves a process of identifying shortfalls in organisations’ procedures and processes and thereby assists them to prevent reoccurrences of misconducts.’

With 24 years’ experience as a legal practitioner in the public and private sectors, Maoela, believes in continuous professional development in order to remain abreast of changes in the sector. He said: ‘It is of paramount interest to continuously equip myself with a sound understanding of the sector I practice in. With commissions being the new order of the day in South Africa, one couldn’t help but take note of the booming industry in forensic investigations.’ He advised students to ‘Always move from a point of not knowing in order to know something. Approach every learning opportunity as your first because often it is what we think we know that stands in the way of what we ought to know.’

The trio juggled their demanding jobs with two years of study with ease as the programme was offered online in the evening.

Words: Hazel Langa

Photograph: Abhi Indarajan