Dear members of the campus community
The University of Cape Town (UCT) Council met on Saturday, 22 June 2019. This communiqué serves to provide feedback on some of the items that were discussed at the meeting.
Council considered a report from the vice-chancellor that included reports on the core business of teaching and research in the faculties of Law and Humanities. In it the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning highlights the remarkable strides the university is making in various disciplines. Council is encouraged by the continued focus on the academic project and commends all those who spare no effort to make our university a highly sought-after destination for those keen to pursue their intellectual endeavours.
Council also noted the fundraising successes highlighted in the report. While commending the Development and Alumni Department and all those associated with these achievements, Council was concerned about the economic outlook that is likely to make it difficult to sustain the levels of donations that the institution has become accustomed to. This unfortunately also comes at a time when other funding sources for the higher education project are similarly constrained. With such tough funding conditions ahead, the institution will have to be even more frugal.
Council was encouraged by the progress made in filling senior posts, which are so critical for institutional stability. While noting the progress made in working towards meeting the set employment equity targets, Council noted the continued gaps in the demographic representation in the leadership structures.
Report by the Institutional Reconciliation and Transformation Commission (IRTC) Steering Committee
Council considered the feedback report from the IRTC Steering Committee and has communicated separately with the university community in this regard.
Senate resolution for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
Council was encouraged by the steps taken by the university executive to implement the Council resolution regarding this matter. Council urged that the matter be dealt with expeditiously in order to end the uncertainty that may have unintended consequences for the university. Senate and the executive were requested to present Council with their recommendation at its next sitting.
Strategic Plan 2030
Council noted with encouragement the plan of work towards the development of the university Strategic Plan 2030. Council has undertaken to convene its special sitting for purposes of engaging in the ongoing development of this plan. Council agreed that the meetings of the University Strategy Forum will be suspended for a period while the university explores the modality of cross-functional work teams as an alternative.
Appointment of a new chancellor for the period commencing 2020
Council noted an update on the process to appoint a new chancellor. It was further noted that the university community will be informed about the candidate nominations and the constitution of the electoral college. The task of the latter will be to exercise the very important task of electing the chancellor. Council is strongly of the view that the role of chancellor is one that requires an individual of unquestionable personal integrity and ethical standing who will represent the values of UCT.
Annual report and financial statements
The University Audit and University Finance committees submitted the annual report for 2018, incorporating the auditors’ report and the annual financial statements. The chairpersons of the two committees confirmed that the respective committees were satisfied that the annual report presented a balanced and understandable assessment of the position, performance and prospects of the university in the manner required by the Minister of Higher Education and Training.
The independent auditors, Ernst & Young, have indicated that they will be issuing an unqualified audit certificate.
Council adopted the report for submission to the Minister of Higher Education and Training, as required by the regulations on reporting, and resolved to recommend to the Auditor-General of South Africa that external auditors Ernst & Young be reappointed in respect of the 2019 audit requirements.
Reports by the UCT Foundation Trust and the Joint Investment Committee
The final report of Mr Jock McKenzie, who resigned as the chair of the UCT Foundation after 11 years, was noted by Council. Council previously appointed Mr Mutle Mogase to succeed Mr McKenzie as chair of the UCT Foundation. Council recorded its sincere appreciation of the contribution that Mr McKenzie has made to UCT over a sustained period of time. Council approved the trust’s recommended Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment policy for the UCT Foundation. Council also noted the report of the Joint Investment Committee, including amendments to its terms of reference, which Council approved.
Report by the Naming of Buildings Committee (NoBC)
Council resolved to rename the Boehringer Ingelheim Lung Institute the UCT Lung Institute Building following the request of the UCT Lung Institute to rebrand the building. The NoBC’s recommendation to Council noted that the building’s current name was in line with the original agency agreement and original donation of funds by Boehringer Ingelheim for the construction of the building in 1999. The NoBC has received confirmation from Boehringer Ingelheim South Africa that the company agrees with the proposed rebranding of the building and has relinquished naming rights to the building.
December 2019 graduation ceremony splits
Council approved the proposed arrangements for the December 2019 graduation ceremonies, which are to be held on 12, 13 and 23 December respectively. Council noted that the regular residence fees and occupancy rules will apply in the case of extended stays in residences during the vacation period.
Academic calendars for 2020 and 2021
Council approved the revised academic calendars as recommended by the Senate.
Sipho M Pityana
Chair of UCT Council
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