08 September 2016
Dear members of the UCT community
Herewith a number of important developments for your information:
Students' Representative Council (SRC) elections postponed
The SRC elections at the University of Cape Town (UCT) have been postponed by the Election Commission until further notice. The facts are that a particular student standing as a candidate for the elections is the subject of a high court interdict which prohibits him from being on campus. He is also facing internal disciplinary charges. UCT is bound by the provisions of an order of the court and the Vice-Chancellor does not have the authority to grant permission for exceptions. The Election Commission is of the view that, facing this situation, it cannot fulfill its mandate to conduct free and fair elections. As a result, they have made the decision to suspend the elections indefinitely. The UCT executive respects the independence of the Election Commission and has noted its decision. The executive is considering the impact of the decision and is in discussion with multiple parties to seek further solutions to the challenges faced.
UCT's submission to the Fees Commission
Dr Max Price made UCT's submission to the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training (The Fees Commission) on the future of funding of higher education.
Chair of UCT Council on disruption of the Fees Commission by protesters
A group of protesters disrupted the sitting of the Fees Commission shortly after the UCT presentation. UCT released a statement to campus on the matter and Mr Sipho Pityana, the chair of the UCT Council, wrote to the commission shortly after the incident.
UCT Retirement Fund (UCTRF) Annual General Meeting
This meeting on 1 September 2016 covered, among other things, the chairperson and principal officer's report, trustee elections for 2016, and an investment review of current investments and returns. The university is aware that a suspended student, who is not allowed to be on campus, attended and participated in the meeting. The matter has been reported to the South African Police Service as the student's presence is in violation of a court order.
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) quarterly report
Early this year the university established SART: a collaborative collective appointed to coordinate expert services on campus to deliver a holistic approach that is survivor-centred and open to accommodate the voices of all those affected by sexual violence in the university environment. One of SART's responsibilities is to report back to the university community and UCT management. SART delivered its first quarterly report in May 2016. The second quarterly report is now available and serves, among other things, to inform the university community of all known cases of sexual violence that have occurred on campus and to document how UCT has responded. SART also helps to highlight any gaps in the support and care of survivors so that improvements can be identified and implemented.
The UCT austerity process
Letters advising whether or not applications have been accepted for Incentivised Early Retirement (IER) and Voluntary Separation Packages (VSP) were distributed last week by unit heads to staff who applied for packages. Applicants accepted for IER or VSP will receive further communication from Human Resources regarding the formalities and timing of payment of packages. In some cases, further discussions will continue with units where, for a variety of reasons, it will only be possible to achieve the required savings over a longer period than was initially anticipated. As part of the austerity plan to achieve the proposed savings targets, approximately 20 posts across the university may be affected by restructuring. Staff who might be affected will be offered the opportunity to take the full IER/VSP options as originally offered, even if they did not apply for IER/VSP previously. Where informal discussions about these proposals have not already taken place in the affected units, they will commence as soon as possible. Due process will in all cases be followed in terms of the UCT Redundancy, Redeployment and Retrenchment procedures for Academic or PASS staff.
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