30 June 2017
Dear colleagues and students
I write to update you on two developments – the appointment of the new Director: Institutional Planning and the conferring of an honorary doctorate on Zackie Achmat at a graduation ceremony scheduled for 14 July 2017.
Appointment of new IPD Director
It gives me great pleasure to announce that Ms Tamara Kenny Bezuidenhout has been appointed as Director: Institutional Planning with effect from 1 September 2017. She will take over from Judy Favish, who retired at the end of 2016 after 13 years in the position.
Ms Bezuidenhout received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2000 and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 2001 – both from Rhodes University. She completed a Master of Arts degree in Dramatic Arts and Film Studies in 2012 at the University of Pretoria.
She has over 17 years’ experience in the higher education sector, seven of which were spent in teaching and educational management in higher education institutions, and nine of which were spent at the Council on Higher Education (CHE), where she held various positions.
The various positions Ms Bezuidenhout held at the CHE include Senior Manager for Projects from May 2011 to December 2015, Acting Senior Manager for Operations from October 2012 to April 2013, Manager and Acting Senior Manager from March 2010 to April 2011, and Project Manager from April 2008 to February 2010. She has worked closely with relevant higher education documents, legislation and policy that govern the sector and is part of a wide network of stakeholders that manage this governance, including the CHE, Department of Higher Education and Training, South African Qualifications Authority, professional bodies, Sector Education and Training Authorities, and others.
Ms Bezuidenhout will join UCT from AFDA – the South African School of Motion Picture and Live Performance – where she has been serving as Provost (Institutional Registrar) since January 2016. In her role, she is responsible for institutional quality assurance, statutory and regulatory compliance, maintaining academic standards, academic administration and management of the institution. She is also a permanent member of the AFDA Council as Chair of the Academics Standards Sub-council.
We are looking forward to welcoming Ms Bezuidenhout to the UCT community.
Honorary Doctorate for Zackie Achmat
I am delighted to announce that UCT will award an honorary doctorate (LLD honoris causa) to Abdurrazak ‘Zackie’ Achmat at a graduation ceremony scheduled for Friday, 14 July 2017 at 09h00.
This is in recognition of his contribution to activism for social justice in South Africa. Achmat’s life work exemplifies UCT’s values which seek the fostering of an institutional culture that protects and advances the transformative values of the Constitution, and promotes a more equitable and just society based on respect for human rights and human dignity.
Achmat, who is particularly well-known for his work with the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), has devoted his life to fighting injustice and oppression. In 1977, at the age of 15, he was detained by the security police for 14 days. He was a member of the African National Congress’s (ANC) underground movement and United Democratic Front (UDF) structures, taking a leading role for a period in the Marxist Workers Tendency of the ANC.
After the transition to democracy in 1994, Achmat took up a position at the AIDS Law Project. It was during his time at the AIDS Law Project that Achmat devoted his efforts towards issues of gay and lesbian rights, and then to the issue of antiretroviral provision and HIV/AIDS more broadly.
Achmat co-founded (and later directed) the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality (NCGLE). In his work with the AIDS Law Project and the NCGLE, he was involved in a number of cases from the mid-1990s that first established, and then enforced, the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian people in South Africa. Establishing a pattern that continued into other work, litigation accompanied by political organising, education and mass mobilisation.
In 1995, Achmat and his colleagues secured an interdict preventing police harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation. This interdict was later followed by the decriminalisation of gay sex; ensuring that same-sex couples were not discriminated against in their access to medical aid and pension benefits, or denied rights to permanent residence.
The formation of the TAC in 1998 signalled the next phase in Achmat’s social activism. Through a series of court cases, the TAC compelled the government to provide treatment to people infected with HIV/AIDS. As a result in part of the TAC’s victory South Africa now has the largest government antiretroviral treatment programme in the world.
In recent years, Achmat has been instrumental in the formation of several social movements, such as Equal Education, the Social Justice Coalition, Ndifuna Ukwazi and Reclaim The City, focusing on schools, policing, sanitation infrastructure and access to urban land. Each of these campaigns, all of which are led principally by young black people, represent Achmat’s approach to overcoming racism, sexism and social inequality through active political campaigning.
His advocacy has included a wide range of international causes including opposition to US-led wars in contravention of international law, vocal opposition to dictatorship and homophobia on the African continent and elsewhere, and activism to end violation of international law and occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel.
Achmat’s contribution to public life has included regular writing, production of films and public speaking. His life has been devoted to the struggle for the building of a new social order based on dignity, equality and non-racism. He is indeed a worthy recipient of this honour.
Professor Hugh Corder
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