UCT ‘notes with concern’ VC Phakeng being threatened on campus

University of Cape Town new vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng during an interview on May 26, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. Phakeng says her new position comes with more the usual pressures. If she fails, it won’t only be about her, but all black women, and all black people. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Esa Alexander)

University of Cape Town new vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng during an interview on May 26, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. Phakeng says her new position comes with more the usual pressures. If she fails, it won’t only be about her, but all black women, and all black people. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Esa Alexander)

The VC says she will not be hiring a bodyguard or driver as she refuses to ‘waste money’.

The University of Cape Town said it “noted with concern” the institution’s vice-chancellor professor Mamokgethi Phakeng taking to social media on Tuesday to voice her frustration after being “threatened”. Phakeng said she had been walking from her car to her office when someone who was “not a white person” threatened her.

“My heart is beating fast, I am sweating and angry! Thanks to the person who threatened me this morning as I was walking from my car to my office. I refuse to waste UCT money on a driver or bodyguard. Go ahead and do what you want. NB: It’s not a white person,” said Phakeng.

She said the incident, however, did not ruin her day as she was “fine and continuing as if nothing ever happened”.

Responding to Phakeng, UCT said it had noted the incident “with serious concern” and had escalated the matter to the institution’s Campus Protection Services.

“We ask all staff and students to please report all safety & security incidents to the nearest CPS officer or CPS office so that they can be thoroughly investigated. If you ever need assistance, please call the CPS 24-hour emergency hotline on 021 650 2222/3,” said the institution.

Phakeng received messages of support from people who suggested that the university provide private security for her.

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