Clarification on the Role of the Council Task Team on Statues, Plaques and Artworks

22 April 2017

A Task Team on Statues, Plaques and Artworks was set up in September 2015 to make recommendations to the UCT Council.

Its terms of reference are:

  • “To conduct or commission an audit, assessment, and analysis of statues, plaques and artworks on campus that may be seen to recognize or celebrate colonial oppressors and/or which may be offensive or controversial;
  • To seek comment and opinion from members of the University and other interested and affected parties on these issues,
  • and do this with inclusivity and the University’s location in an African context as the basis of its work.”

The role of the Task Team has been misrepresented in the press and conflated with the actions of others. The Task Team wishes to clarify its position.

In March 2016, the Task Team was requested by the Vice Chancellor to report on its progress. He asked the Team also to take discussion and comment on its progress at the University Senate. The Team did this.

The University then took an executive decision regarding the removal of artworks on campus which the VC communicated to the University in a statement on 11 April 2016.

As the Terms of Reference make clear the Task Team has no authority to endorse statements by others, take decisions, be part of the taking of decisions, or to implement anything. It can do only one thing: elicit comment, make recommendations and report them to Council.

At the end of the statement the names of the Task Team members were listed for information purposes. It is possible that some people think this list is an endorsement of the statement. It is for information only. The Task Team has asked for the names to be moved onto its interim statement for the sake of clarity.

The Vice-Chancellor’s statement mentions the development of curatorial policy. The Works of Art Committee is the body responsible for the development of policy for artworks.

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