Defend Truth

UNIVERSITY GOVERNANCE CRISIS

Former UCT Council chair Babalwa Ngonyama resigns from another board after independent panel report

Former UCT Council chair Babalwa Ngonyama resigns from another board after independent panel report
Babalwa Ngonyama. (Photo: UCT News)

In the aftermath of the scathing report by the independent panel investigating governance failures at the University of Cape Town, the university’s former Council chair, Babalwa Ngonyama, has resigned from yet another company board.

Former UCT Council chair Babalwa Ngonyama has resigned from the board of Camissa Asset Management. 

Camissa Asset Management CEO and founder Roland Greaver confirmed to Daily Maverick on Friday morning that Ngonyama had resigned as a non-executive director of the company on 8 November. 

Ngonyama did not provide a reason for her departure from the company, said Greaver. However, he added: “I think it’s consistent with all her other resignations from boards. I think it’s just the right thing to do.”

The former UCT Council chair resigned from the Vukile Property Fund board of directors on 2 November, the day after the release of a 179-page report by an independent panel investigating governance failures at the higher education institution, Business Day reported. 

She also resigned from the board of Hollard insurance company, following the report’s release. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Former UCT Council chair Babalwa Ngonyama resigns from Hollard board after independent panel report

The independent panel report spits fire at UCT’s recent leadership; excoriating Ngonyama and former vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng. 

Former University of Cape Town vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

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 concluded.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Independent report spits fire at UCT’s recent leadership, blasting Mamokgethi Phakeng

Phakeng’s behaviour, it found, was aided and protected by Ngonyama’s multiple breaches of good governance. 

“Ngonyama’s conduct in failing to perform her fiduciary duty to UCT… must be reported to the appropriate regulatory authorities,” the report recommended.

The report found Ngonyama and Phakeng had initiated the termination of former deputy vice-chancellor Lis Lange’s contract “without having the authority to do so”, and also misled the UCT Council and Senate regarding the circumstances of her departure. 

“To conclude that Ngonyama and Phakeng’s conduct during this period amounted to a governance failure would be an understatement,” it found.

The findings of the independent panel vindicate a Daily Maverick investigation in October 2022, that initially exposed the governance crisis within the University of Cape Town. 

Ngonyama resigned from UCT with immediate effect on 22 May 2023, following a recommendation by the independent panel, in an interim report, that she be removed immediately. 

Read in Daily Maverick: UCT chair Babalwa Ngonyama resigns following governance panel’s recommendations

“Her removal cannot wait for the panel to complete its work and finalise its report, much less wait for the matter to be dragged through the courts. The facts are clear, and Council must act,” the interim report concluded. 

Shortly after departing from the university’s Council, she also resigned from the board of the pharmaceutical group Aspen in May, News24 reported. 

Ngonyama’s company Sinayo Capital, which she co-founded with Khumo Shongwe, is still a majority shareholder in Camissa Asset Management. 

“There are no immediate reasons to review our relationship with Sinayo as an entity,” Greaver told Daily Maverick. “We’ve got good relationships with the entity.”

While Ngonyama has been feeling the heat since the publication of the report, Phakeng announced this week that she had signed an agreement to work with a Cyprus-based brokerage to learn more about online scams and trading. 

Phakeng avoided suspension by the UCT Council by reaching agreement on a R12.5-million early retirement package in February this year. 

In response to questions from Daily Maverick, Ngonyama referred us to Camissa Asset Management for comment, saying she felt it “appropriate that the company responds”. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    “Phakeng avoided suspension by the UCT Council by reaching agreement on a R12.5-million early retirement package in February this year.”

    Nice result if you can get it. Us tax payers spend a great on getting rid of duds. Doesn’t feel like we’re getting the best value for money.

  • Nick Griffon says:

    What a toxic and despicable human being she appears to be.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Sadly knowing this topic, it is likely that the comments here will involve race.

    So I will try and first get in a quick plea to commenters to please focus on the issue and the person as a South African citizen and actively leave race off the table.

    Please help our country heal and prosper; don’t be fooled into being part of the problem.

    • Winston Bigsby says:

      Huh? Didn’t you read the article?
      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”
      In case you missed the ethnic slurs and racially offensive material-means what in your vocab?
      Where does SA get off on appointing these racist, militant cretins?

      • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

        @winston – my comment above is very clear and is entirely unrelated to what she said or didn’t say.

      • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

        @winston – my comment above is very clear and is entirely unrelated to her.

        • Malcolm Mitchell says:

          Ricky, get with it !! and do not be naïve!

          • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

            Get with what? That it is good to needlessly antagonise entire groups of people by needlessly injecting race into emotional diatribes when they are easily elucidated using simple logic?

            Nah, sorry @malcolm but I think I’ll stick with naive and leave you to support racial stereotyping commentaries.

    • Nnete Fela says:

      True. I’m really interested in the catastrophe that results when narcissists thrive and their behavior is unchecked. The suffering caused to their victims (and themselves, but it’s unclear that they reflect on their own suffering instead of blaming others)

      Max Price sounded the alarm and later the ombudsman, I’m pretty sure there were others who had worked with her prior to her arrival at UCT who could’ve given references about her behavior and potential conflicts. Is it that narcissistic tendencies are easy to mask in certain environments than others or they may be overlooked when someone has a PhD or some accomplishment or do they just get worse as people ascend

  • Con Tester says:

    Might Ngonyama be one of the few ANC stalwarts who has some minimal capacity to feel shame? 🤷‍♂️

    Also, didn’t she and Phakeng say they would be taking the report for judicial review, denial being SA’s new national sport for the rich and connected? 🙄

  • Phillip O'connor says:

    To resign is the correct thing to do, however how is she held accountable for her actions in what she did to Liz Lange? Just asking, will Professor Lange be reinstated?

  • Heinrich Holt says:

    I honestly wish her all the best. It cannot be easy to publicly resign from so many boards in such a short time. My humble advice would be to take up one job, get some real experience, do some real work, and maybe one day, serve on one or two boards. Then she can add real value because this is what real board members do. Bring real life experience obtained through hard work and learning from mistakes.

  • Rosalyn Rowe says:

    Why do people keep on “resenting” the 12,5m payout to Phakeng?
    Don’t they realise how much it would have cost to impeach her and enter into a long, difficult battle to get “justice”! 12,5m is pocket money in comparison!!!

    • Sydney Kaye says:

      The better alternative would have berseem to hold a quick disciplinary hearing, fire her. and let her sue. R12,5M is pocket money to UCT,because it is from tax payers’ pockets.

  • Malcolm Mitchell says:

    All those companies who rushed to get her on their boards must now have egg on their faces! Why did they appoint her in the first case- to curry favor with whom?

  • Johan Buys says:

    I wonder whether her parachute includes an agreement that the university will not pursue litigation in terms of Companies Act? Directors should study their legal exposure before accepting positions left right and center.

  • Guy Reid says:

    Both promoted way beyond their capabilities.

  • chrismostert11 says:

    She is at UCT from 2017 to 2023 and to avoid suspension for valid reasons, she
    does a deal with UCT council and collects a 12.5 million early retirement package.
    Not too shabby for a 6 year stint. What a joke.

  • Gavin Hillyard says:

    Did she get a R12,5 m pension payout for 6 years of “work”? If so it is a disgrace. I worked for 52 years and my retirement savings are a fraction of this amount. Disgraceful. Where will it end?

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

X

This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.


Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.