UCT said goodbye to 14 outgoing Council members at a special dinner to mark the end of a four-year term on 30 June 2016.
As thank-you gifts, the members were given UCT hoodies – “we guessed your size” said UCT Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price – along with a photograph of the Council taken in December 2015.
The 14 members of the 30-strong Council who are stepping down are: Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane (chair), Graeme Bloch, Justice Ian Farlam, Jeremy Gauntlett SC, Sandile Zungu, Edwina Brooks, Associate Professor Ulrike Rivett, Professor Anton le Roex, Professor Maano Ramutsindela, Lucille Meyer, Thero Setiloane, Garreth Bloor, Alderman Owen Kinahan and Yoliswa Dwane.
Among the longest serving were Kinahan, who served 14 years, and Gauntlett, who has served five terms encompassing 20 years of service. Outgoing chair Ndungane served eight years along with Bloch, while Farlam served 12 years and Brooks served seven.
Their replacements have yet to be announced.
Price also gave special thanks to the partners of Council members, who had been invited to the event. He acknowledged that serving on Council and its substructures was a “huge time commitment” which went unremunerated and did not hold much “positive return” for partners.
Highlights and challenges
Price said one of the Council's main responsibilities was around capital expenditure – and one of the largest projects to have been approved was the R500 million spend on Obz Square.
He said Council took its responsibilities seriously by scrutinising, challenging and holding UCT management to account.
“I think this year highlighted more than any other … the challenges of governance, finding the balance between oversight and intervention, accountability both within the institution and to external stakeholders,” said Price.
Price said that while Council often had intense debates and divergent views, “everyone has understood that we share the common interest of the institution.”
He thanked in particular the chair Ndungane, and deputy chair Debbie Budlender, for their support and advice over the past year, adding: “Thanks to each of you for your belief in the future of UCT and what you have contributed to that future.”
Serving the nation
In his response, outgoing chair Ndungane said that it had been a pleasure “to serve the nation” by having been a member of the Council of “this great university”.
He said that one of the beauties of Council was that its members were from diverse backgrounds and took their duties very seriously in terms of governance and usury responsibilities.
In terms of recent protests, he said: “We all agree that the voice of protest must never be allowed to die down in a democracy, but it is how those protests are conducted where we say 'no' to violence and to the destruction of property.”
Ndungane wished the incoming Council well as it handled issues “that we should have addressed as a nation”, in particular simmering concerns around higher education.
The first meeting of the newly constituted Council will take place on 16 July when a new chair will also be elected.
Story Andrea Weiss. Photos Michael Hammond.
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