Golden handshake must not derail UCT investigation

Issued by Chantel King MP – DA Shadow Minister for Higher Education
23 Feb 2023 in News

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

The DA notes University of Cape Town (UCT) Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng’s golden handshake of more than R12.5 million. And while we can only hope that her departure will lead to stability at UCT, questions regarding the governance of the university remain.

The DA welcomes the fact that the investigation led by retired Judge Lex Mpati will continue, albeit with a slightly different scope.

It is very concerning that the UCT council decided on an agreement with Prof Phakeng before the investigation could be concluded. We hope the investigation would shed some light on the why a report by the former ombuds, Zetu Makamandela-Mguqulwa, regarding accusations of bullying were seemingly not taken into account.

Unstable governance, as has been the case at UCT for a number of years now, does not create environments conducive to excellence. The disruptions are detrimental to the students, staff and the university’s reputation. South Africa’s institutions of higher education are often, unfortunately, the only hope young people have of earning economic emancipation. Stability at one the country’s leading universities is crucial.