DA calls UCT council leadership to appear before Parliament

Issued by Chantel King MP – DA Shadow Minister of Higher Education
10 Oct 2022 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Chantel King MP.

On Friday, 7 October 2022, the DA wrote to the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education, Nompendulo Thobile Mkhatshwa, to request that the chair of council and the chair of senate at the University of Cape Town (UCT) should appear in Parliament. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, and chairperson of council, Babalwa Ngonyama, must account to Parliament over the governance crisis that has engulfed the university in recent days.

We hope the portfolio committee chair regards this meeting as very crucial and urgently makes contact with the university to send through a report with documentary evidence on this matter.

We note Ms Ngonyama’s U-turn on the call for an independent investigation to be conducted by a retired judge — which was initially requested by 14 members of the UCT Council — and we welcome such an approach so that a comprehensive report can ultimately serve before the portfolio committee.

UCT is a leading higher education institution in South Africa and Africa at large. The university’s leadership needs to be beyond reproach.

Transformation is key for any institution with a diverse student enrolment and profile, innovative curricula and cutting-edge research. Transformation should create stability in the administration of the university towards an established identity and unique purpose and should not be at the cost of quality teaching and learning and exclusionary approach. This can only be achieved through cooperation and a conducive academic environment.

We will ensure that the facts are presented at this inquiry so that UCT remains a leading institution with impeccable governance structures and processes, as well as an inclusive, research-intensive university which strives to address the challenges experience in society.