University of Cape Town vice-chancellor Max Price has called on those behind a smear campaign against one of the institution's professors to apologise to her.
It was earlier alleged in an email that Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng was not suitably qualified to teach mathematics. The email stated: "I believe she is not mathematically qualified at all... She has a PhD in education of mathematics. It might justify investigating..."
"We are aware that several people have disassociated themselves with the email and we trust that the disengagement will continue," the university told HuffPost SA on Monday.
Price has called for those who sent the email to be investigated.
The allegations against Phakeng were sparked by tweet in which said she had a PhD in mathematics, instead of a PhD in mathematics education.
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In a letter penned by Price aover the weekend, he wrote that he had asked the people responsible for sending the emails to apologise.
The row over her qualifications has been brought to an end, said Price, who confirmed that it was merely a smear campaign. He has labelled the accusations against Phakeng as "insulting" and said he was "offended and saddened".
The university further said: "Many members of the university community are appalled by the smear campaign.
"There is a shared view among many that people... should not behave in this manner and if one wanted to question or raise issues, they should have done so via proper channels instead of doing this surreptitiously over email."
Many have taken to social media to defend Phakeng, vouching that her qualifications are legitimate.
Protect @FabAcademic at all costs— #PrayforSierraLeone (@UBhekilanga) October 6, 2017
You're an inspirational @FabAcademic ignore the haters Mama 🙏🏿❤️— Bra Nape (@Nape_MM) October 8, 2017