Report back from latest Council meeting

23 October 2018 | Debbie Budlender

Dear members of the campus community

The University of Cape Town (UCT) Council met on Saturday, 13 October 2018. I write to give you feedback on some of the items that were discussed.

1. Vice-Chancellor’s vision for her term of office

Council considered the presentation by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, on her vision for her term of office. Council noted that the Vice-Chancellor’s vision has also been presented to members of the UCT community across UCT’s campuses. The key message of the interplay between excellence, sustainability and transformation is at the core of the Vice-Chancellor’s plans. Council endorses the thrust of the vision and encourages all staff and students to play their role in advancing the implementation plans that will follow and which will be aligned to the strategic goals of the university.

2. Vice-Chancellor’s report to Council

Council considered the report of the Vice-Chancellor, which consisted of reports covering crime, gender-based violence, student suicides on campus, water management, senior staff recruitment and appointments as well as reports on two of the faculties. The faculties will be covered on a rotating basis so that each is reported on once a year.

Council agrees with the university’s leadership that these issues require ongoing monitoring and appropriate management in order to keep our campuses safe, support survivors of gender-based violence, find ways to root out the scourge of crime and violence more generally, develop and improve early warning systems to mitigate suicide risks, and improve water management and security at UCT. Council notes that while the senior staff vacancy profile remains a concern, the situation has improved with the recent appointments of the Chief Operating Officer, the Dean of Commerce and the Executive Director of Libraries. Selection processes for the other vacant positions are underway and are enjoying attention. Council will continue to monitor these issues and thanks the Vice-Chancellor and the Leadership Lekgotla for their ongoing attention to these issues.

3. Vice-Chancellor’ robing ceremony

Council confirmed that Professor Phakeng’s robing ceremony, to mark her appointment as Vice-Chancellor, will take place on 13 December 2018 at 10:00. The details of this event will be communicated closer to the time.

4. Report by the Council committee on the late Professor Mayosi

On 10 September 2018 Council resolved to establish an independent panel to review the issues that stakeholder representatives had raised in regard to the passing of Professor Bongani Mayosi. Following further inputs from stakeholder representatives, Council approved members for an independent panel. Further details will be communicated as soon as the panellists have confirmed acceptance.

5. Appointment of the Executive Director: ICTS

Council considered the motivation for the appointment to the post of Executive Director: Information and Communication Technology Services. Council accepted the recommendation of the selection committee and authorised the Vice-Chancellor to make the appointment. An announcement regarding the successful candidate will be made by the Vice-Chancellor as soon as the appointment details have been finalised.

6. Appointment to committees

The following appointments were made:

  • Sheila Barsel – University Student Affairs Committee
  • Buyani Zwane and Michael Cardo (alternate) – selection committee for the post of Director of the Graduate School of Business
  • Shuaib Manjra and Tom Moultrie – University Panel for Responsible Investment.

7. Infrastructure development

Council confirmed its support for important infrastructure projects that will be part-funded by grants from the Department of Higher Education and Training. The grants and the building development that they will support are crucial to UCT’s infrastructure expansion and will support UCT’s strategic goals. These include the refurbishment and extension of the Chris Hani Building, the Avenue Road Student Residence, network replacement and the upgrade to digital preservation facilities, and a project for water sustainability.

8. Reports on UCT’s academic core business

Council considered and adopted both the 2017 Teaching and Learning Report and the 2017 Research Report. These reports account for the core business of the university’s work and Council thanks the Senate for the excellent work to strengthen UCT’s academic project. 

9. Report of the University Human Resources Committee

Council approved retrospectively the change in the policy on permanent appointments of professional, administrative support and service (PASS) staff – payclasses 1 to 8. In terms of the revised policy, a coalition of unions will be invited to appoint one union representative and an alternate (from a pool of union-nominated trained representatives) to serve on selection committees for the affected posts.

Council recorded its appreciation of the work done by the University Human Resources Committee and noted specifically the work already underway in regard to the initiatives that aim to address issues related to institutional climate and culture at UCT, including support and interventions for the mental health and well-being of staff.

10. Campus copy and print contract

Council, having considered the proposal for a managed print service on all UCT’s campuses, and the recommendation of the tender adjudication committee, resolved to appoint Bytes/Xerox as the provider for this service for a period of four years from the start of 2019.

11. Post-retirement medical aid subsidy

Council approved the post-retirement medical aid subsidy for 2019 to be the Coastal Saver Plan and the subsidy will be up to 50% of the total premium on this plan.


Debbie Budlender
Deputy Chair of Council

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