Report on UCT Council meeting of 14 March

18 March 2020 | From the Chair’s Desk

Dear members of the UCT community

The University of Cape Town (UCT) Council held its first meeting of the year on Saturday, 14 March 2020. A number of items were discussed, and some key decisions were taken. I write to provide brief feedback on the meeting.


Council acknowledged the seriousness of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and noted the precautionary measures put in place by the UCT executive.

Council membership

Following the resignation of Ms Debbie Budlender, Council elected Professor Shirley Zinn as Deputy Chair for the balance of the term until 30 June 2020. Council also noted the resignation of Ms Lerato Mbele. Council expressed its appreciation for the contributions that the members have made, and in particular recorded its gratitude to Ms Budlender, who had served Council and UCT over a period of multiple terms.

Due to the resignation of Ms Budlender, Council made the following appointments to the committees on which she previously served:

  • Ms Dianna Yach – University Finance Committee
  • Ms Nazeema Mohamed – University Student Affairs Committee

New chancellor

Our new chancellor, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, joined the meeting for a meet and greet. We are pleased that Dr Moloi-Motsepe accepted the invitation to serve as chancellor, are proud to be associated with an individual of her stature, and have no doubt she will be a great ambassador for UCT.

Reports by the executive

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, tabled her report – which included updates on environmental sustainability, senior appointments, Vision 2030 and student admissions. Council noted in particular the far-reaching decision to postpone the Chancellor’s installation event, and the suspension of the March 2020 graduation ceremonies in line with the recommendations to limit events that would see large numbers of people in close proximity to each other. Council also noted that the university’s first-time entering undergraduate student enrolments stood at 104% of the institutional target that had been set. Council was encouraged by the work that was being done in crafting the 2030 vision and related goals for a future UCT.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Associate Professor Lis Lange, delivered a presentation on the monitoring of UCT’s Strategic Plan 2016–2020, while Deputy Vice-Chancellor Loretta Feris presented the Transformation Report – which will be distributed through the university channels in due course.

Report on the reconstitution of Council

The term of the current Council ends on 30 June 2020. A process has begun for the reconstitution of the next Council. The registrar reported that the City of Cape Town and the Provincial Government of the Western Cape have been invited to appoint their members. The office of the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology will make five ministerial appointments. The Appointments Committee of Council will finalise its appointments in late May after elections in all other constituencies have been concluded. Calls for nominations in the professional, administrative support and service (PASS) and academic staff constituencies, and in the Convocation and Donor constituencies will be sent within the next few weeks.

Amendments to the Institutional Rules

Council approved changes to the institutional rules in response to amendments to the UCT Statute approved by the Minister and gazetted in January 2020. The amendments aim to give effect, inter alia, to the revised membership composition of the Senate and Council.

Annual reports

The annual reports of three Council committees were tabled by the relevant chairpersons and discussed by Council. The report by the University Human Resources Committee summarised its work during 2019, the report by the Remuneration Committee accounted for major actions and decisions taken, while the report of the University Building and Development Committee gave an update on construction and development projects.

The annual report of the Institutional Forum was also presented.


Mr Sipho M Pityana
Chair of UCT Council

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