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Professor Phakeng studies “inaccurate” UCT report

by Thys Khiba
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Professor Phakeng studies “inaccurate” UCT report

By Thys Khiba

Former University of Cape Town (UCT) vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said the UCT panel report is inaccurate and has a potential to harm her reputation on Thursday, 02 November.

Mamokgethi has reacted to the report that was complied by a panel led by former Supreme Court of Appeal president Judge Lex Mpati.

“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.

I will study the report further with my legal team and I will take appropriate steps, as deemed necessary, in due course,” said Phakeng.

Phakeng advised by her legal team, will not entertain any media interviews at the present moment.

Professor Phakeng studies “inaccurate” UCT report

Professor Phakeng studies “inaccurate” UCT report

Meanwhile, a 179-page report publicised on Wednesday found Phakeng and Council chairperson Babalwa Ngonyama guilty of serious governance failures at UCT.

The report mentioned that the rationale for the departure of many executives at UCT were unclear and questionable.

Ngonyama and Phakeng come out at the centre of the investigation following claims that Ngonyama had supplied false reasons to the UCT senate for the early departure of Professor Lis Lange.

Lange was the deputy vice-chancellor for learning and teaching.

The report found Lange had no personal reasons to resign and that her departure was constructive dismissal.

Former deputy-vice chancellor, Loretta Feris, Lange, and executive director for communications Gerda Kruger are staff members who had left the university.

Feris resigned in April 2022, after she had formally written to the council and Phakeng to ask that she “end multiple encounters of private and public humiliation and disrespect.”

Her resignation is linked to, what she believed, that Ngonyamahad intervened improperly in her performance appraisal to ensure that she was not eligible for reappointment.

The report also suggested that Feris’ termination was unfair.

“…she was not given an opportunity to answer the adverse comments of the vice-chancellor regarding her performance assessment,” the report found.

The report mentioned that her removal is linked to her conflict with the vice-chancellor, and that was a breach of labour law.

It was also found that Lange’s contract was similarly, irregularly, improperly and unlawfully terminated.

“It was also done irregularly because it was initiated by the chairperson of council, who had no authority to do so.

It was improper because it was also used to achieve an ulterior purpose, which was to remove Lange from the Exco.

“The chairperson of council acted unlawfully, violating her right to equality by threatening that her term as deputy vice-chancellor would not be renewed if the vice-chancellor did not want her, and advised that she wished to appoint an African deputy vice-chancellor in her place.

Lange was left with no option but to negotiate the termination the termination of her contract. As with Feris, the facts are consistent with a constructive dismissal,” the report said.

 

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