Ombud report caused tensions – UCT bosses

The top brass of the University of Cape Town on Monday sought to quash the impact of a damning report by the institution’s ombud into the leadership style of its vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng and her managements colleagues.

In a letter to staff and students, penned by Phakeng, her three deputy vice-chancellors and the university’s chief operating officer, the management said the ombud’s report had caused tensions.

“We acknowledge that there have been tensions in the executive, much of it has been resolved and we remain committed to working as a team. The interest of the university is at the centre of what we do, and we are focused on ensuring that the University of Cape Town (UCT) continues to succeed,” the letter read.


“Leading a university like UCT is a complex, challenging and exhilarating experience. Whilst there might be differences of opinion and personal complexities from time to time, we are, as a team, totally committed to leading this university in the best way possible. We are united around this goal in our daily work and are determined to continue to lead this university to an exciting and thriving future,” the letter concluded.

Newly elected chairperson of the UCT Council Babalwa Ngonyama, last week said due process was not followed in the release of this report.

UCT ombud Makamandela-Mguqulwa in her report likened Phakeng to a bully, who victimizes staff. A source at UCT has, however, told Sunday World that anti-transformation forces were trying to oust Phakeng, who was appointed to the role in 2018 – and that office of the ombud was weaponized for this purpose.

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