BREAKING: Professor Phakeng Set To Become UCT Vice Chancellor

PICTURE: Mail & Guardian

CAPE TOWN: University of Cape Town Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng is set to be the next UCT Vice Chancellor.

Student newspaper, Varsity News, reports that Phakeng has received 122/162 (75%) votes in the Senate thus effectively renders her the leading candidate in the race for UCT’s top post after going up against UWC’s professor Vivienne Lawack. Lawack attained 29 (18% ) votes and the rest was abstained.

This is however not the final leg of the process as Council has the final say and the vote could be different but this is unlikely. The next council sitting was scheduled for March 17.

Phakeng is currently the university’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation, was accused of forging her mathematics PhD qualification. 

In a string of email sent by other staff members to Phakeng, “I believe she is not mathematically qualified at all… She has a ‘PhD in education of mathematics’. It might justify investigating ….” 

According to UCT’s website, Phakeng earned a BA in pure mathematics from the former University of Bophuthatswana in 1988. She obtained her BEd (1993), MEd (1996) and PhD (2002) in mathematics education from the University of the Witwatersrand.

On Twitter, Phakeng said at the that she believes that these comments come from a minority grouping at the university. 

“The problem [I] guess is the power and influence they have,” she said. 

If appointed, Phakeng will be the second black woman Vice Chancellor after Dr Mamphele Ramphele.