Ufs Vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng Appointed By Minister Of Finance Enoch Godongwana – UCT COLLEGE CRISIS VC Phakeng rejects sick leave bill, students attack academics and registrar resigns as campus riots continue
The governance crisis at the University of Cape Town continues to escalate, with Vice-Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng and Council Chairman Babalwa Ngonyama now facing claims that Phakeng has been hospitalized due to stress. On the other hand, a senior academic from the UCT reported having been attacked by a student at a UCT event.
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“I am writing to inform you that the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, was admitted to the hospital on Monday, December 5,” University of Cape Town (UCT) Board Chairman Babalwa Ngonyama announced in a statement to the University of Cape Town (UCT) campus. the UCT on Wednesday.
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“Professor Phakeng is receiving medical attention and will be out of the office while he recovers. Due to the stress the Vice Chancellor went through, this time out of office will also serve to give her some rest.”
Ngonyama stated that the UCT Council was informed of Phakeng’s medical condition at a special meeting held on Tuesday night, with Deputy Vice Chancellor Elelwani Ramugondo taking over for the VC in an interim capacity.
“The University Council is united to stabilize the situation and is concerned for Professor Phakeng’s health,” Ngonyama wrote.
But in a sign that the relationship between the VC and the council president has soured amid the growing crisis of UCT governance, Phakeng dismissed Ngonyama’s account.
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In an email sent by Phakeng to Ngonyama and other top executives, seen by Daily Maverick, Phakeng expressed “deep concern” over Ngonyama’s public statement.
Calling Ngonyama’s version of events “not so true”, Phakeng wrote: “I do not believe that my mere admission to hospital for just one day was necessary to open the series of urgent special meetings (Lekgotla executive, Council and Leadership) that violate governance prescriptions with a singular agenda item [of] ‘CV health risk’”.
Phakeng said that as a result of the “violation of [her] constitutional right to privacy,” she had been inundated with messages of concern.
“Let me repeat that I am here at the hospital for a series of tests and as a precaution I am being admitted while I await the results,” the VC wrote.
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“In fact, it’s a disturbing phenomenon that my rights seem so easy to violate at every opportunity.”
In a separate incident this week, a senior UCT academic wrote to UCT authorities to allege he was assaulted at a UCT seminar on Tuesday afternoon.
Politics and Sociology professor Jeremy Seekings claimed that student Chumani Maxwele “hit my face twice”, knocking Seekings’ glasses to the ground, after accosting Seekings after a book launch at the Science Research Center Social.
In Seekings’ email, seen by Daily Maverick, he alleges that Maxwele originally used the discussion portion of the book event to launch an “aggressive tirade” aimed at accusing Seeks and others of racism.
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“I don’t know how we should respond when someone disrupts events in this way, launching into rants that have little or no effect on the topic of the academic event. Maxwele intimidates most people into silence,” Seekings wrote.
“When there were only four other people left and I was starting to clean up, Mr. Maxwele got into an altercation with me,” Sekings alleges.
“He hit my face and forcefully knocked my glasses off my face to the ground. After I got my glasses back, he hit me again, again knocked my glasses off my face and injured me. I did not retaliate. Fortunately, the teacher [Lungisile] Ntsebeza, who was still there, convinced Mr. Maxwele to stop and leave without further violence.”
Maxwele dumped dirt on the Cecil John Rhodes statue on the UCT campus in 2015, and the Rhodes Must Fall movement was born. Since then he has been accused of assault on several occasions.
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Seekings concluded his email by asking UCT authorities a series of questions, including: “What can or should the university do to protect its employees from this type of aggressive harassment and/or violence, while allowing a proper academic debate?
Daily Maverick understands, however, that Pillay has tendered his resignation after more than two decades at UCT. He will become the latest top executive to leave UCT amid a string of similar departures in recent years, as Daily Maverick first reported in October.
The Council has yet to work out the details of an independent investigation into possible misconduct by Phakeng and Ngonyama.
Nearly two months after the investigation was settled in a Council vote, the composition of the panel responsible for the investigation has yet to be announced. Although the panel was originally supposed to submit a detailed report to the Council by December 31, 2022, this deadline now appears to extend well into 2023. MD
Uct Vice Chancellor Denies Sick Leave
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