Last week a letter from Professor Q. M. Temane, the registrar at UNISA, surfaced on the internet. The April 3 letter was written to Paul Ratsara, and states that the university concluded its investigation into 2016 allegations concerning ghostwriting. The letter says “Our investigations have revealed that there is no evidence to substantiate the claims that a ‘ghost writer’ wrote the chapters in question” and that Ratsara’s DTh degree is “in good standing.”
The concise and upbeat letter concludes by wishing Dr. Ratsara well, and states that they are looking forward to his participation as an alumnus. The letter:
Rather than become defensive towards the swirling accusations of people who were eager to tarnish his reputation, Paul Ratsara humbly stepped down from his position as SID Division President on my birthday, 2016. As then, I am humbled and inspired by his willingness to serve the Lord as a pastor in the territory of the Indian Ocean. He showed us what dignity looks like in the face of unfair accusations.
There are many supporters of Paul Ratsara around the world, some close to the situation and some not so close. Here are various affirmations offered in his behalf:
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”—a mind filled with divine love and absolute humility (total dependence upon God). I appreciate how Paul Ratsara voluntarily stepped down to avoid interfering with the mission of the SID. I appreciate he did not counter attack or try to defend himself, but stood still to see the Lord’s deliverance—all the while working zealously for the salvation of souls in the Seychelles. Great news!
"Praise the Lord for this good news. I believe the moral of the story is to stick to the facts and the truth. "
Here are seven observations that have surfaced regarding Paul Ratsara's education, to say nothing of his faithful service to the Church over several decades.
1) It is important to remember that Elder Ratsara had already received an Honorary Doctorate in Divinity from Solusi University (2007) before he earned his doctorate at UNISA (University of South Africa).
2) Ratsara also got his theological degree in the 80’s from the Seminary in Mauritius under the European system (i.e Bogenhofen Seminary, today) which eventually morphed into Zurcher Adventist University in Madagascar.
3) In addition, Ratsara in the 90’s completed a graduate degree (In Business Management) at an Adventist University in the Philippines.
4) There is no record, as far as we know, of Ratsara personally claiming he had received a Phd instead of a Dth degree (in Systematic Theology). Allegations that he did, are what led to this issue in the first place. Again, there is no record of him doing this.
5) We would rather trust a two year intensive investigation, than alleged statements or ambiguous assumptions by certain entities, whose fruits speak for themselves.
6) It appears that the real “Ghostwriters” in this story are the whisperers who tried to make us believe a lie. In the wake of Ratsara's exoneration, the moral of the story is -- stick to the facts. Don’t cast judgment on the Lord’s anointed, because you don’t agree with them on certain issues. As Believers, he is still our brother in Christ.
7) We owe brother Ratsara an apology. We are better than this. To try to slander his name further after the Lord vindicated him, could make us guilty of false witness, evil speaking and clamor (Ephesians 4:31). It could also jeopardize our salvation.
"Wonderful news. May God continue to abundantly bless you both as you continue to work for Him!"
Here is an online comment that was posted by Professor Amos Saurombe. We thought it was good:
"Any credible university in the world will have long-standing internal and external processes that it puts in place to prove the credibility and integrity of its qualification if questions are raised. Therefore, one needs to know that from the onset, the process of clearing Ratsara's name was not a once off event; the University has long-standing process and procedures in dealing with matters like these. Even though I do not speak for Unisa in this matter, I am proud UNISAN (Full Professor of Law & former Head of Post Graduate Studies in the College of Law). I am also an Adventist and an ordained Elder of the Church. This discussion makes me really sad in that the Church, albeit a few individuals want to fight their political battles using whatever they can find, even when it is not the truth. In this case the University has done its work diligently. The fact that the outcome is not favorable to certain individuals should not be used to discredit the University, after all the University engaged an independent process to reach this decision. The University will not hesitate to withdraw a qualification that was conferred as a result of academic dishonesty. UNISA will not gain anything by sweeping anything like this under the carpet; On the contrary, any withdrawal of a qualification can also point to the strength of the University's academic integrity. What I see in this now is a small group of people whose agenda is now to continue to discredit the Pastor and the Church while at the same time use Unisa as battleground. It needs to be stated clearly that the University (as a legal person) has rights to protect its image and in the same manner its Alumnus, it will be very sad one day for these individuals to face damaging lawsuits that can also drag the church along in the muddy places. Can we respect the space of academic integrity for UNISA; some of us are proud workers of this Institution and devout supporters of the Adventist mission. Yesterday, the University's Main Campus in Pretoria hosted the Adventist TMI event, let us not allow the devil to destroy the mission for our master's soon return!!"
"For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants" (Psalm 135:14).