Paul Ratsara, a longtime Seventh-day Adventist pastor who served as president of the world church’s Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division (SID) for 11 years, has been told his 2014 Doctor of Theology degree from the University of South Africa “is in good standing.”
The news comes after an independent, “intensive investigation” commissioned by the University of South Africa, or UNISA, which began in 2016. The investigation followed allegations that Ratsara’s thesis was in part composed by another individual, called a “ghostwriter.”
The news came in an April 3, 2018 letter from Professor Qambeshile Michael Temane, acting registrar of the University. A copy of Temane’s letter was provided to The Compass Magazine, and is embedded below:
“Our investigations have revealed that there is no evidence to substantiate the claims that a ‘ghost writer’ wrote the chapters in question,” Temane wrote. “I wish to confirm that the [Doctor of Theology] degree awarded to you by our Council and Senate on the 8th of September in 2014 and all its privileges is in good standing.”
Ratsara’s doctorate was earned at The University of South Africa, the largest university on the African continent. The late Nelson Mandela, a former president of the Republic of South Africa, earned his undergraduate and law degrees at the school.
The Compass Magazine has learned Ratsara’s doctorate was personally supervised face to face within the university grounds, a 15-minute drive away from the then-Division president’s home in Centurion, South Africa.
When the first false allegations were made in The New Age, a South African newspaper, in April 2016, certain online magazines and blogs amplified the charges.
The allegations created significant “distraction” to the mission of the church, according to Ratsara’s letter of resignation.
Wanting to protect the mission, progress, and focus of the SID, Ratsara sent a letter to the General Conference Executive Committee.
In order “to refocus the church that I love, back to its God-given mission, and to prevent it continuing to be distracted, I have humbly decided to voluntarily request reassignment as a local church district pastor somewhere within the territory of the Indian Ocean Union, my home union,” Ratsara wrote to the General Conference Executive Committee, the top decision-making body of the Adventist world church, according to an Adventist Review report.
Ratsara has served as a district pastor in Seychelles, Africa, along with his wife Joanne, since December 2016.