UCT Council receives report from panel probing governance concerns
The UCT Council has received the report from an independent panel investigating governance at the institution. The report, which will assist ‘Council to strengthen the governance of the university’, will remain confidential until its contents and recommendations have been fully considered.
An independent investigation into the governance crisis at the University of Cape Town (UCT), exposed by Daily Maverick in October 2022, has been concluded.
In a statement on Sunday, the chair of the UCT Council, Norman Arendse, said the council had received the panel’s report.
“Council extends its appreciation to the panel for the detailed and important work that it has done and is confident that the report is a crucial step in assisting Council to strengthen the governance of the university,” Arendse said.
“The content of the report and the recommendations contained therein are now under consideration by Council and will be discussed at a further meeting that will be scheduled shortly.”
UCT, one of South Africa’s top universities, has faced months of instability in the wake of allegations of malfeasance and governance issues, as reported by Daily Maverick.
In October 2022, Daily Maverick’s Rebecca Davis reported that the UCT Council was described as increasingly toxic, with accusations of racism and claims of cover-ups. There were also accusations that both the then vice-chancellor, Mamokgethi Phakeng, and the then chair of the UCT Council, Babalwa Ngonyama, had deliberately misled the university’s governing bodies.
Davis also reported that an independent panel chaired by a retired judge would investigate governance concerns at UCT involving Phakeng and Ngonyama.
Read more in Daily Maverick: UCT to launch probe into conduct of vice-chancellor and chairperson after gruelling council meeting
The panel, chaired by retired Judge Lex Mpati, and comprising fellow retired Judge Azhar Cachalia, public sector governance expert Trish Hanekom and Wits transformation head Bernadette Johnson, formally began its work in February 2023.
The council has resolved that the report will remain confidential until its contents and recommendations have been fully considered.
“It is recognised that many of the university’s stakeholders expect to be more fully informed and Council therefore undertakes to take the necessary steps to provide further details as soon as it is appropriate to do so,” it said. DM