The conclusion of an independent panel’s report could mean UCT will make the deadline of submitting the outcomes to Parliament’s portfolio committee on higher education at the end of this month.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande is also waiting to receive the findings.
However, there is an alleged attempt to have the anticipated report interdicted.
UCT council chairperson Norman Arendse confirmed that the council was issued the independent investigation report on Saturday, and considered it during a meeting.
“Council extends its appreciation to the panel for the detailed and important work that it has done, and is confident that the report is a crucial step in assisting council to strengthen the governance of the university.
“The content of the report and the recommendations contained therein are now under consideration by council, and will be discussed at a further meeting that will be scheduled shortly.
“Until the content and recommendations of the report have been fully considered, council has resolved that the report will remain confidential. It is recognised that many of the university’s stakeholders expect to be more fully informed, and council therefore undertakes to take the necessary steps to provide further details as soon as it is appropriate to do so,” said Arendse.
Arendse was elected as the UCT council chairperson in June, taking the reins from Babalwa Ngonyama, who stepped down from the position with immediate effect at the end of May after a scathing interim report of the panel.
The independent panel of four members, headed by retired Supreme Court of Appeal Judge President Lex Mpati as the chairperson and Judge Azhar Cachalia, was established to investigate allegations of governance issues, including claims that former vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng and Ngonyama misled the senate regarding the departure of deputy vice-chancellor of learning and teaching, Associate Professor Lis Lange, who claimed in a letter to the senate that she had been forced out.
The panel recommended that council “take immediate steps to remove” Ngonyama. However, she left before any action could be taken. She has since approached the Western Cape High Court to review and set aside the appointment of the panel.
In August, UCT briefed the portfolio committee over its state of governance and administration-related matters.
According to Arendse, delays in the conclusion of the final report included that there was a late rush of whistle-blowers and interested parties who apparently had very important information to share.
“A review application has been lodged by the former deputy chair of council (Pheladi Gwangwa) seeking to set aside the council decision to remove the officer concerned from the position of deputy chair.
“Council is following the required legal process to oppose this application, and due process will follow.
“The former deputy who lodged the review application remains a member of Council,” he said.