Forty-nine years after submitting his Master of Laws (LLM) degree thesis and having it refused because it quoted a banned person‚ Prof Raymond Suttner will finally graduate at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
This was after the institution invited Suttner to resubmit his previously banned thesis.
Suttner – an academic and former political prisoner – is now a visiting professor and strategic advisor at the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Humanities.
In a statement on Monday‚ UCT said Suttner was scheduled to graduate on December 14 after resubmitting his thesis for examination after the intervention of Professor Dee Smythe‚ professor of public law at UCT.
In 1969‚ Suttner submitted his LLM thesis on Legal Pluralism in South Africa.
In it‚ he quoted extensively from Jack Simons‚ who was banned as a listed communist‚ resulting in his then supervisor instructing him to remove the quotes prior to examination as Simons could not be quoted as a banned person.
Suttner refused to remove the quotes and instead withdrew the dissertation.
Smythe says she learnt about Suttner’s story in his book‚ Inside Apartheid’s Prison. She started digging and found a CV that listed a 1969 thesis on Legal Pluralism in South Africa‚ with a note that it had not been submitted for examination.