Report from Council
The Executive Committee of the University Council met in February 2008 for the first meeting of the year, and dealt with a wide range of matters.
Executive leadership and transition was a key issue. Exco noted with regret the resignation of Professor Cheryl de la Rey. Dr De la Rey has accepted appointment as CEO of the Council on Higher Education. Exco has noted that the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Njabulo S Ndebele, in consultation with the Vice-Chancellor Designate, Dr Max Price, will be bringing proposals to the March Council meeting for advertising DVC vacancies and for making interim appointments. Exco underlined the importance of this given Dr De la Rey's resignation, Professor Martin Hall's resignation as DVC with effect from 31 August 2008, and Proferssor Martin West's retirement from his appointment as a DVC on 30 June 2008.
Keeping the core work of the university going in the context of load shedding was a concern at the meeting. Exco reviewed what is already in place (UPS system and generators) to support teaching and research, and gave in-principle approval to proposals for what is not yet covered.
The Council's term of office ends in June 2008, and Council reviewed the steps underway to constitute the new Council. Nominations for the Convocation-elected six members close on 14 March 2008.
The challenges facing the university/province partnership in the operation of the Faculty of Health Sciences and the teaching hospitals have been a key concern of Council for the past two years. Exco has reviewed the province's adjustment to the 2007/2008 health budget, and has noted the province's commitment to confidential consultations on the 2008/09 budget.
UCT has sexual harassment and sexual offences policies that date from the 1980s. These have been reviewed during the past year by a reference group. The reference group's proposals, which were submitted to Council in December 2007, have been revised by an ad hoc Council committee in consultation with the reference group, and were supported by Exco.
The University of Cape Town Foundation is an independent registered trust. It holds the university's permanent endowment. The trustees' report was before the Exco for information, together with details of the income distributed for designated endowment. The value of the permanent endowment as at 30 September 2007 was R1.15 billion.
Financial questions enjoy priority attention by Exco, so Exco was pleased to note that the cash flow position at year-end was better than budgeted, and that less than 2% of tuition and residence fees for 2007 (over R600 million) remained unpaid at year-end.
Notes by Registrar Hugh Amoore