Deputy registrar on carpet, UCT confirms
The University of Cape Town (UCT) has finally acknowledged its deputy registrar, Paul Ngobeni, is the subject of an internal disciplinary hearing.
But the institution says it will not disclose what charges Ngobeni faces, nor the composition of the disciplinary committee because it does not want to conduct its internal processes "in the public domain".
Ngobeni, UCT's deputy registrar responsible for legal services and secretariat, first attracted attention when he wrote an opinion piece for the Cape Times in October last year in which he said "calls by some lawyers and academics for the removal of Judge President John Hlophe (were) intended as a threat to the very notion of judicial independence these lawyers pay lip service to".
It later emerged that Ngobeni, a lawyer, had been found guilty in the United States of misconduct and barred from practising in three states.
Earlier this year, the Mail and Guardian reported that Ngobeni was the subject of an internal disciplinary hearing at UCT - a process that Ngobeni claimed was related to his public statements in support of Hlophe.
At the time, UCT refused to confirm that Ngobeni had been called to face a disciplinary hearing. But it has now acknowledged this was so.
"The hearing has not been concluded, but we are hopeful it will be soon. UCT is committed, even at the end of the disciplinary process, to maintaining Mr Ngobeni's right to have this matter regarded as private," UCT said in a statement.
It would not be drawn on the details of the hearing.
"The university respects staff members' rights to dignity and privacy and does not intend conducting processes, guided by its staff disciplinary procedure, in the public domain."
With acknowledgements to Natasha Joseph and Cape Times.