Feedback from the latest Council meeting

20 December 2018 | From the Chair’s Desk

Dear members of the campus community

The University of Cape Town Council met on Saturday, 8 December 2018. I write to provide feedback on some of the items that were discussed and decisions that were taken.

Executive appointments

Council appointed Professor Kevin Naidoo as acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation, for the period 1 January to 30 March 2019. Council noted Professor Michael Kyobe’s desire to return to his academic duties and recorded its appreciation for the contribution that he has made in the acting DVC role to date.

Council also approved the recommended candidates for the positions of Dean of the Faculty of Law and Dean of the Faculty of Science. The specific details of these appointments will be announced separately once the related appointment processes have been finalised.

Tuition, student housing and international fees for 2019

Council approved tuition fees and student housing fees for 2019. These fees were set according to the Consumer Price Index, and the injection of additional funds from the state in 2019. Tuition fees, excluding the programmes and courses offered through the Graduate School of Business, will increase by 5.3% and residence fees will increase by 7.3%. For the international term fee, Council approved an increase of 8% for 2019.

Council also approved the operating budget and spend proposals, tuition and related operations budget and capital and strategic proposals, as well as the high-level budgets for student and staff housing.

Memorial Hall renaming

Council approved the renaming of Memorial Hall to Sarah Baartman Hall. This decision followed a period of extensive consultation and deliberations, including with representatives of the Khoi community. This is an important symbolic step in the ongoing transformation of UCT. Council affirms this decision, as it is important for a number of reasons, including honouring the memory of Sarah Baartman and restoring dignity to her name.

Council also resolved to rename the JP Duminy Residence, noting that the Naming of Buildings Committee will initiate a process of identifying an appropriate name for the residence.

Council membership

Council acknowledged the appointment of three new members to fill vacancies that resulted from resignations. The new members are Malcolm Campbell, Lerato Mbele and Nazeema Mohamed.

Malcolm Campbell’s area of expertise is that of urban development policy and planning. He is principal at ACG Architects and Development Planners. His portfolio of work covers the full spectrum of residential, retail, commercial, institutional and public projects, with an interest in memory work.

Lerato Mbele is a South African journalist and broadcaster working for the BBC. She is a business news anchor, correspondent and analyst and is presenter of the Africa Business Report on BBC World News. She was formerly one of the main presenters of Newsday on the BBC World Service.

Nazeema Mohamed currently serves as the executive director of Inyathelo, the South African Institute for Advancement. During her career she has served as a higher education policy analyst on several ministerial committees.

We are very pleased to have the new members on board, confident that their experience and expertise will add value to Council’s work.

Council objectives for 2019

Noting the requirement of the Auditor-General that Council reports annually on the extent to which the university has met its predetermined objectives, Council has set its objectives for 2019.

These extend to (a) Council’s oversight role in relation to the reports of the university to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), (b) achieving the approved student enrolment targets for 2019, and (c) ensuring that earmarked funds designated and awarded to the university by the Minister of Higher Education and Training are utilised for the specific purposes as intended.

Council also undertook to continue to govern the university effectively and make further progress in the appointment of staff to vacant senior posts. Transformation and the core business of the university remain high on the Council agenda, and Council will review requisite reports related to teaching and learning, research, social responsiveness and transformation progress.

2019 Annual Performance Plan

Universities report to the DHET in three stages. In the first stage, the university contracts annually with the DHET in respect of objectives and performance targets. The second stage requires the university to report on progress towards the achievement of targets. The last stage is the annual report.

The Annual Performance Plan (APP) is based on key areas of performance, including enrolment planning (having regard to the university’s contribution to scarce skills provision, research outputs and student housing); utilisation of earmarked grants (including the clinical grant, foundation grant and university capacity development grant); finance; and risk.

Council approved the APP for 2019.

Employment Equity Plan 2020–2025

Employment equity planning is an important component of UCT’s transformation. UCT’s current Employment Equity (EE) Plan is valid until 2020. The new EE Plan comes in the wake of a request by Council in 2017 to develop stretch targets for employment equity. It is simultaneously the result of an Employment Equity Act Compliance Assessment and a review by the Department of Labour in February 2018. This new plan addresses the need for stretch targets, considering the university’s identity as a national African university.

The university has set realistic and achievable targets to shift black designated group representation at the professionally qualified occupational level by 10% in a positive direction over the next three years, to 36% black, of which 12% will be African black. The number of black African professors is projected to grow from 5.3% to 9%.

Admissions proposals for 2020

Council approved the student admissions selection methods for each of the faculties. These stipulate entrance requirements and will be implemented for the 2020 admissions cycle. The admission criteria apply to prospective first-year students seeking admission at UCT.

Closing date for 2019/2020 applications

Council also approved an earlier closing date for study applications, bringing the deadline forward from 30 September to 31 July. Council recognised the advantage of doing this, as an earlier closing date will contribute to more efficient management of the admissions process by allowing faculties much earlier insights into the applicant pool and the related consideration of thresholds at which to establish early conditional offers to applicants. An earlier application closing date is not uncommon at other institutions and will not disadvantage any applicant.

Revisions to the 2019 and 2020 academic calendars

Council approved the 2019 and 2020 academic calendars to allow for a longer study consolidation period, and exam-free days on key religious days that fall in the exam period. The extension of the study and exam periods is intended to allow students more time to prepare for their scheduled exams. The details of the provision for exam-free religious days that fall within the examination period are available in the 2019 calendar, as published by the university.

Establishment of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Chair in Urology

Council approved the naming of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Chair in Urology. Council is pleased that Archbishop Tutu, via the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, agreed that the Tutu name may be used in the naming of the chair. The purpose in establishing this chair will be to provide institutional and national leadership in a wide range of new areas of research and clinical services in South Africa.

Institutional reports

Report of the Institutional Forum: Council noted the report of the Institutional Forum, accounting for its work for 2018.

Social Responsiveness Report 2017/2018: This was adopted by Council.

Report of the Audit Committee: Council approved the changes to the Human Resources schedule of delegated authorities and confirmed the full schedule of delegations for 2019.

I wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work done by all members of staff during 2018, to recognise the contribution of students, and to note the many successes achieved all round. May you have a safe and fulfilling holiday season.


Sipho M Pityana
Chair of UCT Council

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