Update on IRTC process from 4 May 2018

09 May 2018 | Debbie Budlender

Dear member of the UCT community

The Institutional Reconciliation and Transformation Commission (IRTC) Steering Committee met with the IRTC on 4 May 2018 after receiving the IRTC’s initial set of recommendations from phase one, in which the commission considered whether students who were granted clemency for incidents stemming from the Shackville incident of February 2016 should be granted amnesty. These recommendations will be considered by UCT Council after the steering committee has discussed them.

The purpose of the meeting was two-fold. First, the IRTC was to present its approach to phase one and respond to issues raised in written responses from the various constituencies as well as issues raised during the meeting. Second, the IRTC was to present its planned approach for phase two.

A total of six constituencies and individuals submitted formal written responses to the phase one report and recommendations of the IRTC. The responses from the IRTC Steering Committee raised both process-related and other questions about the recommendation to Council to convert 8 of 13 clemency cases into amnesty. The IRTC explained how, in these confidential hearings, the charge sheets of each case were examined and the assessment for the recommendation was based on the full disclosure and remorse of those who appeared before it.

The IRTC indicated that it had been unable, to date, to reach all affected students who had been granted clemency and that ongoing efforts were being made in this regard. With respect to outstanding cases, the IRTC indicated that it had not considered those cases in which disciplinary proceedings had not been concluded. The commission recommended that the university consider submitting to the IRTC only those cases that, in its view, constitute major offences and to drop charges for minor offences.

The IRTC responded to many of the issues raised by the steering committee, and undertook to discuss further, among themselves, issues on which they could not immediately give a definitive response.

The IRTC acknowledged that it had not yet had an opportunity to hear from those who might have been impacted negatively, hurt, wronged or their dignity undermined by events at the university during the period in question. It requested that such individuals make submissions to the commission. To ensure that all parties have the opportunity to be heard, the closing date for these submissions has been extended to 12 May 2018.

In addition, the IRTC has also extended the deadline for phase two of the hearings to the same date, 12 May 2018. It should be noted that, unlike phase one, in which hearings were confidential, phase two will provide for open hearings (unless individuals request otherwise), which all will be welcome to attend.

According to the IRTC’s terms of reference, phase two pertains to “institutional culture, transformation, decolonisation, discrimination, identity, disability, labour relations and any other matters that the university community has raised over the years or may wish to raise”. In addition, the IRTC has identified the three themes listed below and has also decided to include a ‘general’ theme:

  • gender-based violence
  • accommodation
  • security.

Please ensure that submissions do not exceed 15 pages. All submissions of four or more pages should include an executive summary pertaining to each theme. All representations/submissions to the IRTC should be submitted to Candice Amon (candice.amon@uct.ac.za) on 074 505 4159 by no later than 12 May 2018. The submissions can also be sent via your steering committee representatives.

I urge all the members of the university to participate fully in this historic process.


Debbie Budlender
Deputy Chair of the IRTC Steering Committee
Deputy Chair of UCT Council

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