Fresh from donating 10% of her salary, UCT VC turns down party

Fresh from donating 10% of her salary, UCT VC turns down party

- Prof Phakeng became vice-chancellor of UCT on 1 July

- She pledged to donate 10% of her salary to fund black students

- She has now turned down a R1million inauguration party

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The new vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, has turned down an inauguration party that would have cost R1million.

Phakeng assumed her position on 1 July. As reported, she immediately pledged to donate 10 percent of her salary, or R200,000 a year, to fund black postgraduate students.

The 51-year-old renowned maths education academic revealed her latest austerity measure in an interview with City Press.

She will now only have a simple inauguration ceremony but no lavish party in order to save the university money. She explained:

The basic thing is, it’s not consistent with my values to spend money when there is such a shortage of it.
At the university, the academic sector has been on austerity. They’ve had to cut costs and cut posts, and then I get a million rands for a celebration? No.

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Interestingly, Phakeng revealed that she was in the same class in middle school and shared a desk with former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe.

She said Molefe was a smart, confident, and outspoken student who was in their school's debating team.

Phakeng further said she likes challenging herself to perform tasks outside her comfort zone, if only to remind herself that she's only human.

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