Report blasts recent leadership of University of Cape Town

An independent panel tasked with investigating governance failures at South Africa’s University of Cape Town (UCT) released its long-awaited report on Wednesday 1 November. It is scorching in its condemnation of both former vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng and former UCT Council chair Babalwa Ngonyama, stating: “To conclude that Ngonyama and Phakeng’s conduct during this period amounted to a governance failure would be understatement”, writes Rebecca Davis for Daily Maverick.

The report released this week by an independent panel investigating governance failures at UCT in recent years excoriates former vice-chancellor Phakeng. It paints a picture of a narcissistic and thin-skinned leader who, it alleges, exploited and encouraged racial divisions – talking up a narrative of racial empowerment in public while saving some of her worst abuse for black women in private.

Phakeng “repeatedly conducted herself unprofessionally by engaging in activity that is prohibited in the UCT workplace, including using threats, intimidation, ethnic slurs, personal insults and also posting racially offensive material on social media”, the report concludes. Her behaviour was aided and protected by former UCT Council chair Ngonyama’s multiple breaches of good governance. The report finds “Ngonyama’s conduct in failing to perform her fiduciary duty to UCT” sufficiently concerning that it recommends the businesswoman “be reported to the appropriate regulatory authorities”.
Full report on the Daily Maverick site