SASSFE statement on the alleged governance ‘turmoil’ at UCT

12th October 2022

Prof Phakeng

The South African Student Solidarity Foundation for Education (SASSFE) has learned with dismay numerous articles in the media space raising concerns of mismanagement at the University of Cape Town (UCT). An illustrious professor, internationally renowned scholar and acclaimed higher education leader, and a trustee of SASSFE, Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, is said to be corrupt, unethical and has created a culture of fear and animosity at UCT[1]. These allegations have been refuted in a comprehensive media communication from UCT[2]. Further, SASSFE supports the establishment of an independent investigation into these allegations and trust that the process will be free and fair.

SASSFE commends and supports the outstanding and exemplary work being pursued by Prof Phakeng and her collective in creating a transformed, sustainable and leading African global institution. Furthermore, we condemn racist and misogynistic attacks on her, and other members of the UCT leadership. We wish to highlight the gravity of such attacks, especially when they are levelled against black womxn leaders who are already placed under undue immense pressure to perform.

Universities must continue to remain as free spaces where the contestation of ideas must thrive without fear, favour or prejudice. Institutions of higher learning must remain as beacons of good and proper governance, serving as good example to the broader society. We wish that UCT leadership finds space and time to resolve any issues impeding on the progress of Africa’s best higher education institution.

[1] Davis, R. (2022) ‘Dark days: Accusations of capture and governance instability rock UCT’, Daily Maverick, 3 October 2022. Available at: link [accessed 7 October 2022].

[2] Moholola, E. (2022) ‘UCT’s response to incorrect, misleading and unethical claims around governance at the institution, UCT Communications, 7 October 2022. Available at: link [accessed 7 October 2022].


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