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Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng questions UCT report, may take it on review

Former UCT Vice-Chancellor Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng has raised questions about the report on governance at the institution. Picture: Tracey Adams

Former UCT Vice-Chancellor Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng has raised questions about the report on governance at the institution. Picture: Tracey Adams

Published Nov 3, 2023

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Former Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cape Town (UCT), Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng, has warned that the report on governance at the institution has damaged her reputation and will consider taking legal action.

She said the report was inaccurate and “potentially damaging to my reputation”.

The independent panel report into the governance crisis that rocked the university, blamed Phakeng and former council chairperson Babalwa Ngonyama for bad conduct and stated they had gone “rogue”.

Phakeng said she will study the report with her legal team, but she could take it on judicial review.

“I have had my first chance to read the UCT panel report which, in my view, contains information about my time as UCT VC that is inaccurate and potentially damaging to my reputation,” said Phakeng.

“I will study the report further with my legal team and I will take appropriate steps, as deemed necessary, in due course. As this matter may become litigious, and based on the advice of my legal team, I will not be doing any interviews at this stage.”

Phakeng served as the university’s vice-chancellor while Ngonyama served as chairperson of council.

The report, which was released on Wednesday, was compiled by a panel led by retired Judge Lex Mpati. It investigated governance issues at the institution after concerns over its management were raised.

The report revealed that the two top officials left the institution in a dire situation and used it to advance their interests.

According to the report, governance failures caused by the two would be an understatement, stating that they undermined the policies and procedures of UCT.

“To conclude that Ngonyama and Phakeng’s conduct during this period amounted to a governance failure would be an understatement. In an attempt to shield themselves from accountability, they undermined the policies and procedures of UCT,” reads the report.

The report stated that the situation would have been worse if members of the council and most of the senate did not act to protect the institution.

Phakeng left the institution in March and Ngonyama resigned from her position in May.

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