Report on the recruitment of members of the Leadership Lekgotla

13 October 2018 | Vice-Chancellor Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

Report to Council (October 2018) on the recruitment of members of the Leadership Lekgotla at UCT

Executive Summary by the Vice Chancellor

The Leadership Lekgotla (LL) is the most senior leadership layer on campus.

In my view, the members of this group are critical in the setting of vision and strategy, the overseeing of the organisational functioning and the implementation of objectives. They are the central source from which leadership around transformation must arrive and, in addition, the core group that needs to set the trend in terms of climate and culture on campus.

Who makes up the LL is very important, as is the ability of the group to function with a shared vision, creativity, positivity, etc. It is important that the group is as skilled, stable and experienced as possible.

In my view, the situation with the LL is at present extremely worrying. We have 23 positions, of which 65% are currently filled. Before the recent appointment of the chief operating officer, the executive director of UCT Libraries and the dean of theFaculty of Commerce, this was as low as 52%. There are ongoing selection processes to attempt to fill these posts.

If one accepts that less than a year’s experience in a position counts a person as a newcomer, then of the filled positions we have at present, six out of 15 positions are new (40%). If all the vacant posts at present (8) should be filled, it will bring the newcomer numbers up to 60% of the LL. That leaves us with 40% of LL members who have been at UCT longer than a year.

There can be no question that the departure of a single person in one of these leadership positions is impactful, and that the transition to a new leader is often stressful for a faculty or department. If this situation is multiplied across the LL – a state of affairs we are currently experiencing – the situation is unstable and worrying.

The circumstances that led to this position are varied and complex. It warrants consideration whether this overall position could have been avoided. While movement of senior staff is inevitable at points, I believe there are situations that could have been avoided, and we should learn from the experience so we never find ourselves in the same position again.

The executive is committed to working with Human Rescources to ensure we fill positions as soon as possible and stabilise the situation for the future.

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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