Former Venda university professor triumphant in sexual harassment case

The South Gauteng High Court has ordered the University of Venda to take disciplinary action against its vice-chancellor, Peter Mbathi, after Professor Thidziambi Phendla brought a sexual harassment case against him.

In 2011, Phendla accused her boss of pestering her for sex and then being dismissed as Dean of The School of Education after she resisted.

Through the protracted legal battle, her marriage nearly collapsed and her employment prospects were destroyed as a result of the reputational damage. She was also accused of taking a R1 000 bribe for a R18 million cleaning tender, despite not having ever sitting on the university's tender committee.

Mbati claimed that Professor Phendla’s alleged “impropriety” was uncovered in a forensic report by Deloitte, but she says she never shown the report during the disciplinary hearing of misconduct that led to her expulsion from the university.

702/Cape Talk's Redi Tlhabi spoke to her regarding her journey to clear her name.

Listen to the conversation below:

Phendla explained how Mbathi invited her to his house under the impression of wanting to know about the university's culture, as he was fairly new to the university.

When I arrived there, he told me that it was an excuse, he likes me and he feels that we should have a relationship. I told him I'm married and can't do that.

Professor Thidziambi Phendla

After refusing his advances, Mbathi would inundate her with calls at odd times. After evidence showing a record of his numerous calls, he denied ever calling Phendla and insisted that he wasn't ever sexually attracted to her.

He would call me even at 1am and I'd wonder why he would call a staffer at such a time... He denied it.

Professor Thidziambi Phendla

This article first appeared on 702 : Former Venda university professor triumphant in sexual harassment case


CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Van Damme: De Lille has until Monday to respond to maladministration claims

Van Damme: De Lille has until Monday to respond to maladministration claims

The DA has suspended Patricia de Lille from party activities but Eusebius McKaiser says its statement 'is clear as mud'.

Publisher Melinda Ferguson snatches Lit Quiz championship title

Publisher Melinda Ferguson snatches Lit Quiz championship title

Publisher Melinda Ferguson and book distributor Nonkululeko Magi-Africa battled it out during the monthly Literature Quiz.

The Steinhoff Story: from humble beginnings to billions

The Steinhoff Story: from humble beginnings to billions

Financial Mail editor Rob Rose chats to Eusebius McKaiser about how Steinhoff became the retail giant we know, before the fall.

'Democracy  is in trouble if our children cannot read with comprehension'

'Democracy is in trouble if our children cannot read with comprehension'

702/CapeTalk host Eusebius McKaiser hosted a debate on literacy in South Africa.

Entrepreneurs on highs and lows of pushing own businesses

Entrepreneurs on highs and lows of pushing own businesses

Local entrepreneurs open up about taking the courageous leap to start from scratch and the challenges and success that brings.

[LISTEN] Caller challenges Eusebius on land disposition

[LISTEN] Caller challenges Eusebius on land disposition

‘I need you to provide me with an answer' - John from Edenvale, Gauteng

Popular articles
'This puts pressure on Jacob Zuma to vacate office earlier'

'This puts pressure on Jacob Zuma to vacate office earlier'

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Daniel Silke, Political Economy Analyst at Political Futures Consultancy.

Judge Mlambo: Zuma's application amounts to abuse of judicial process

Judge Mlambo: Zuma's application amounts to abuse of judicial process

EWN Barry Bateman explains the High Court proceeding on President Zuma's application to set aside parts of Madonsela's report.

It's chicken for Joburgers and Durbanites, but what do Capetonians feast on?

It's chicken for Joburgers and Durbanites, but what do Capetonians feast on?

Stephen Grootes spoke to founder and CEO of OrderIn to find out more about South African's eating habits.

Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Watch the Guptas pack their bags and run in Nando's inspiring new advertisement.

PSG Chair Jannie Mouton opens up (kind of) about Steinhoff

PSG Chair Jannie Mouton opens up (kind of) about Steinhoff

In 2012 Steinhoff acquired 20% of wealth manager PSG, reportedly infuriating Mouton. Bruce Whitfield interviews him.

[LISTEN] Caller challenges Eusebius on land disposition

[LISTEN] Caller challenges Eusebius on land disposition

‘I need you to provide me with an answer' - John from Edenvale, Gauteng