Johannesburg - UCT Vice-Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng has confirmed her departure from the university. This follows videos she posted on her social media page captioned “Enjoyed supper with my students on my last Saturday as VC of UCT”.
Her departure comes after media reports claimed the UCT council reached a R12 million settlement agreement with the university’s vice-chancellor for her to leave the institution on early retirement.
Although it said nothing about any financial settlement, the video she posted confirmed recent media reports that she would leave the university.
In the video, Phakeng is seen walking in a cafeteria and having a convivial meal with a number of students at a long table.
Pictures were taken, and other students on campus came to have a last moment with their VC. Surrounded by students, she continued to walk around the campus to say her last goodbyes to other students and staff. Excited to see the VC, many students lined up to take pictures with her.
Messages of support and gratitude from South Africans kept flooding in after the video was posted online. Many described Phakeng as a human being who was dedicated to her work and always ensured students were well taken care of.
Commenting under the video, one of the VC's followers on social media, Dennis Mambure, said: “Wherever your career takes you, all the best. I passed through various universities in my life and never saw a clear demonstration of an ever present VC like u epitomised. U defined the new role profile of a VC. Well done Prof. You are the full embodiment of leadership.”
“You are such a vibe, my friend and I took this pic with you on 1st Years parents intro session, we loved your energy, so sad you won’t be the VC, so proud of your great work and for representing, I absolutely loved how engaged you are/were with the students,” said Joyce Bele.
“It’s so sad to see a black progressive powerful academic pushed out in a deliberate attempt to preserve the old order in our academic spaces. Anyone who goes against that order, in the direction of black excellence, will never survive. You did well and made an impact,” PR Sinazo Mtshengu-Nomarwayi said.
“Grateful,” Phakeng replied.