NEWS & ANALYSIS

Inquiry needed into Prof Mayosi's passing - UCT BAC

Caucus says it is hard for them to exclude university working environment from tragic death

Statement on the Handling of prof. Mayosi's passing and a Call for an Inquiry

2 August 2018

We, the black staff of the University of Cape Town (UCT) are deeply concerned with the manner in which the circumstances that precipitated Prof. Mayosi's tragic fate on the 27th of July have been handled following the announcement by the family on the 28th of July that he "took his own life. " In their statement, the Mayosi family had clearly indicated that they were "struggling to come to terms with this devastating loss" and specifically asked that we should "understand our need for privacy during this difficult time".

We thus strongly feel that the mudslinging we have been witnessing over the last few days is premature and not in keeping with the expressed wishes of the Mayosi family. This period up to the burial Of Prof Mayosi on the 4th Of August should be devoted to mourning and celebrating his life.

Our proposal is that the Council should, as soon as possible after the funeral, Set up an inquiry that will make a thorough investigation of the circumstances leading to Prof Mayosi's decision to terminate his life. We further propose that this inquiry must be set up in consultation with especially black staff and students, who have on various occasions expressed their experiences of being marginalized at UCT. It is our view that an understanding of the working conditions in institutions such as is key to such an inquiry. It is hard for us to exclude the UCT working environment from the tragic death of our colleague, prof Mayosi and indeed Others, including Students.

We again that the entire should be transparent and all records and archives pertinent to this investigation shouId be mad e available. This applies specifically to all the correspondence and reports from the period students are alleged to have occupied profMayosi's office in 2016 to the day he passed away on the 27th of July 2018.

Finally, it is our firm view that the results of this inquiry will not only help us understand the circumstances leading to the passing away of Prof Mayosi. Its results will make a huge contribution to identifying in fairly precise terms what it is that is wrong with the structures and how these could be addressed to the benefit of especially the historically and currently marginalized groups, predominantly blacks.

Statement issued by Concerned Staff and the UCT Black Academic Caucus, 2 August 2018