Dear members of the campus community
The University of Cape Town Council met on Saturday, 23 June 2018. I write to give you feedback on some of the items that were discussed.
1. Membership changes on Council
Council received notice of resignation as members of Council from Advocate Ncumisa Mayosi and Ms Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana. In each case, work reasons were cited. On behalf of Council I wish to thank Advocate Mayosi and Ms Makalima-Ngewana for their valuable contribution to UCT in the time that they served on the Council. We are giving attention to membership replacement to fill the gaps that now exist, and will follow the requirements as specified in the UCT Statute for this purpose.
2. Annual report of the Ombud
Council considered the report of the Ombud, confirmed the value of the work done by the office of the Ombud, and endorsed the recommendations in the report.
3. Recommendations by the IRTC
In the interest of restorative justice, Council resolved to approve the recommendation of the Institutional Reconciliation and Transformation Commission (IRTC) that amnesty be granted to eight named students in respect of the events on campus of 16 February 2016. Following an appearance before the IRTC by the students concerned, and the IRTC’s recommendation to Council, Council agreed that amnesty be granted for the offences recorded below, and for which the students were found guilty before the University Student Disciplinary Tribunal.
The IRTC is considering additional student cases. Amnesty is defined by the IRTC as “the expunging from the student’s academic record of all information about the offences related to the Shackville protests and related matters in order to clear their records so that they may graduate, pursue academic studies elsewhere, and satisfy a future declaration that they are ‘fit and proper persons’ so as to be able to pursue future careers and opportunities”.
While the names of the students concerned will not be released, Council agreed that it was important to disclose the reasons for which the amnesties have been granted, but to do so anonymously.
4. Adoption of the UCT annual report
Council acknowledged the work of the University Finance Committee and the University Audit Committee in reviewing the submission to Council of the UCT Annual Report for 2017. Council adopted the management accounts for the period ended 30 April 2018 and the Annual Report for 2017, and approved the re-appointment of external auditors Ernst & Young in respect of the 2018 audit requirements. Council is satisfied that the annual report, incorporating the annual financial statements, presents a balanced assessment of the position, performance and prospects of the university in the manner required by the Minister of Higher Education and Training. Council noted further that the external auditors have indicated that they will issue an unqualified audit certificate.
5. Selection committees for senior posts
Council continues to give attention to the important matter of making senior appointments. Council noted an update from the Vice-Chancellor (then Dr Max Price) on the progress of the selection committee processes. Council also appointed Mr Ezra Davids and Advocate Norman Arendse (alternate) to the selection committee for the post of Dean of Law.
6. Governance scorecard
The Minister of Higher Education and Training requires all universities to submit an annual governance scorecard. The 2018 submission will be the first time that universities have been required to use this scorecard, which comprises a set of governance indicators for councils of South African public higher education institutions. Council has agreed to submit the populated scorecard to the minister, and affirms its support for the principle of good governance practice. In support of this, UCT has a Council Code of Conduct and a policy on conflict of interest that requires members of Council and of the university to make disclosure of interests.
7. UCT Transformation Report 2017
Transformation is at the core of the UCT Strategic Planning Framework 2016–2020. To this end Council considered and adopted the report on transformation activities and interventions in 2017 for onward submission to the Minister of Higher Education and Training. Council will continue to review the transformation initiatives of the university and monitor progress against the goals that have been set.
8. Report by the Naming of Buildings Committee
As part of the wider transformation initiative, and given the symbolism of names, the Naming of Buildings Committee (NOBC) recommended that Council approve that existing signage be corrected to reflect the correct Khoisan spelling of the name of the Hoerikwaggo building. Council approved this.
The correct spelling is Huri ǂoaxa. The phonetic spelling will be used in parentheses alongside the correct spelling in the building signage.
Council also approved the name for the building housing the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking, acknowledging the financial support from the Hasso Plattner Foundation. The building is to be named the HPI d-School.
9. Strategic Planning Framework 2016–2020
Council had previously approved UCT’s strategic plan, setting the course for the institution over the next few years. Council requires that the success of the strategic plan be measured, and for this purpose approved a mechanism for the monitoring and evaluation of the strategic plan. Importantly, it was recognised that the descriptive approach to the identification of high-level objectives resulted in too many areas of performance to be measured. Council approved a revised approach whereby the number of areas to be monitored has been reduced from 65 to 22, and is confident that this does not compromise the high-level goals of the strategic planning framework.
10. Amendments to the UCT Statute
Council supported amendments to the UCT Statute to change certain provisions therein which refer to the term of office of the members of Council, the Senate and the Institutional Forum, in order to remedy an administrative oversight that has resulted in discord between various provisions of the UCT Statute since 26 February 2004 in respect of sections 15 and 17 of the UCT Statute, and since 1 July 2008 in respect of sections 25 and 32 of the UCT Statute. A retrospective amendment to the UCT Statute in these circumstances is directed at remedying nothing more than an administrative oversight, and will bring with it uniformity and certainty. The proposed amendments will be put to the Minister of Higher Education and Training for approval.
11. Council Code of Conduct
Council reviewed the existing Code of Conduct for members of Council, and resolved to amend the current version specifically to assist Council members to make informed and appropriate decisions regarding the use of social media in order to protect institutional and personal reputation when participating on social media platforms.
12. July graduation ceremonies for PhD qualifiers
Council approved graduation ceremonies for PhD qualifiers as follows:
(a) Friday, 12 July 2019
(b) Friday, 10 July 2020.
Mr Sipho M Pityana
Chair of UCT Council
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