UCT 'deeply concerned' as campus assailant threatens vice-chancellor

05 February 2019 - 14:03
By Tanya Farber
UCT's vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng.
Image: Esa Alexander UCT's vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is investigating a threat against its vice-chancellor on Tuesday morning.

The incident had been "escalated" to campus protection services for an investigation‚ said Elijah Moholola‚ senior manager of media liaison at the university.

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng was threatened on campus as she made her way from her from her car to her office.

She tweeted about it‚ saying she refused to "waste UCT money on a driver or bodyguard" and added "go ahead and do what you want." At the end of the tweet‚ she added‚ "NB; It's not a white person."

The university released a statement saying "it notes with deep concern an incident involving the vice-chancellor‚ Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng" and that it "condemns this incident as we would any safety and security incident involving staff or students on our campuses".

The incident happened despite safety measures that are in place on campus‚ it said.

"Campus protection services has measures in place to ensure the safety of all staff and students on campus‚" said the statement.

"These include uniformed staff patrolling the campus‚ and the appropriate equipment installed to enhance security. CPS operates 24 hours a day‚ seven days a week‚ from six service centres on our campuses."

Phakeng's tweet about the incident brought an outpouring of support‚ for which she later tweeted her thanks.

Moholola said Phakeng had "back-to-back commitments all day" and would not be speaking directly to the press.