The Sutherland reburial process and other updates

13 June 2019

Dear colleagues

This campus announcement aims to inform members of the University of Cape Town community about:

1. Update on the Sutherland reburial process

In October 2018, during an archiving audit of the university’s skeletal collection, the University of Cape Town’s curator of human remains identified 11 skeletons that were obtained unethically. The remains were identified as belonging to the Stuurman and Abraham families and were brought to the university by a farmer from Sutherland, Northern Cape, in the 19th century. Led by Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Transformation Professor Loretta Feris, public participation consultant Ms Doreen Februarie, Dr Victoria Gibbon from the Department of Human Biology, and the Office for Inclusivity and Change, the university set out on a path towards reburial, a process that is guided by the overarching transformation agenda. UCT has been continuing to work closely with the families and the relevant stakeholders in making arrangements to ensure that the remains are reburied with dignity.

The latest engagements between the university and the relevant stakeholders took place in Sutherland from 19 – 20 May 2019. On 19 May, there was a visit to the farm where the remains were previously buried, followed by an informal debriefing session between the UCT delegation and the families. The following day, on 20 May, the UCT delegation met with representatives of the Karoo Hoogland Local Municipality. Thereafter, a final public meeting marked the end of a public participation process that is governed by the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA). The reburial date is earmarked for Tuesday, 24 September 2019, subject to approval by SAHRA.

2. Staff inclusivity survey

There is only a day left before the deadline for completion of the InclusionIndex Staff Inclusivity Survey on 14 June 2019. Staff are reminded to participate in this survey. To guarantee complete anonymity and confidentiality, an external service provider, Aephoria, is administering the voluntary survey. The survey can be completed electronically or manually in English, Afrikaans or isiXhosa.

3. Applications update

Applications opened on 2 April for admission to study at the institution for various programmes for the 2020 academic year. The application closing date is 31 July for undergraduate study. Prospective students may apply online. The university has committed significant funds for financial aid packages to support students in need of financial assistance, and has details of outside organisations that do the same. UCT believes that no eligible student should be denied the opportunity of higher education because of affordability issues. Financial assistance to poor and middle-class families is central for academic success. A comprehensive financial assistance programme caters for students whose combined household income does not exceed R600 000.

4. Year in Review publication

As an overview of the past year, 2018: Year in Review highlights the university’s many achievements and goals. It also tells the stories of the people behind breakthroughs in research, the innovations in teaching, and the lived experience of studying and working at our university. Produced by UCT’s Newsroom and Publications unit, 2018: A Year in Review is now available online.

5. Senate proposal to boycott Israeli institutions

On 15 March 2019 the UCT Senate adopted a resolution that “UCT will not enter into any formal relationships with Israeli academic institutions operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as other Israeli academic institutions enabling gross human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”. At its meeting on 30 March 2019, UCT’s Council considered, but did not adopt, the Senate resolution. Senate met again on Friday, 10 May 2019, and agreed to a wider consultative process.

All UCT stakeholders are invited to submit their comments online:

Submissions should not exceed 500 words. The deadline for submissions is 17:00 on Friday, 21 June 2019. Late submissions will not be considered.

6. Introduction of primary health care for employees in payclasses 2 to 6

The university has procured a primary healthcare solution for employees in payclasses 2 to 6. The successful service provider is Kaelo Health and the plan is Kaelo MyHealth Plus. The introduction of this benefit follows the substantive agreement signed with the coalition of unions in 2019, which committed the parties (UCT and the unions) to further consultations on the introduction of primary health care, to be introduced by this year. The agreement also states that the cost per employee will be deducted from their cost of employment.

7. Call for naming of buildings proposals

The Vice-Chancellor has invited the UCT community to submit proposals to the Naming of Buildings Committee (NoBC) for the renaming of both buildings that are currently named and unnamed, such as the New Lecture Theatre. The NoBC has resolved to extend the deadline for proposals to 17:00 on 30 June 2019, and will make a final recommendation on naming/renaming to Council after comments, based on specific criteria, have been considered. Proposals should be sent to Please note that the committee is anticipating receiving a large number of proposals and, as such, may not be able to reply to all emails.

8. Distinguished Teacher Award recipients

Every year the Distinguished Teacher Award (DTA) committee receives a large number of nominations from across the university for this highest accolade for teaching staff at all levels. The committee considers each teaching portfolio and examines the evidence for excellence in teaching over a number of years, focusing on several factors. After a thorough process, the 2018 awardees are Associate Professor Jeff Murugan and Dr Anneliese Schauerte, both from the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics.


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