Dear members of the UCT community
The outgoing University of Cape Town (UCT) Council held its very last meeting of a four-year term on Saturday, 20 June 2020. Our term comes to an end on 30 June. It has been an absolute honour for us to serve on this Council. I have reflected a bit more on our tenure in a separate communication issued by the university. I now write to provide feedback on some of the key decisions taken at our last meeting.
Council’s anti-racism statement
The Council meeting took place in the midst of a global wave against the scourge of racism. As a Council at a university whose values include building an equitable social order based on respect for human rights, Council recognised the need to pronounce itself strongly against this pervasive societal ill and to indicate its unequivocal stance in support of the fight against racism.
The Vice-Chancellor updated Council on, among others, the academic project in the context of the national lockdown, research activities during this period, and the various engagements with several constituencies within the UCT community. These engagements serve to build a sense of community during this COVID-19 crisis and include virtual sessions held with alumni, Senate, the executive of trade unions, the US UCT Trust, the Australia UCT Trust, the UK UCT Trust, the SRC, and staff.
Council noted the update on the commendable work done by the executive on Vision 2030. The incoming Council will take this forward when it comes into office in July 2020.
Report on the reconstitution of Council for the term commencing 1 July 2020
The Registrar reported that apart from a vacancy in the PASS payclass 2-6 category, the process of reconstituting of Council has been finalised. The category of membership for the payclass 2-6 staff cohort has not yet been finalised as this requires a manual ballot by the staff concerned, and the lockdown continues to delay that process.
The new Council will take office from 1 July and the university will announce the new membership as aligned to the amended institutional statute.
Council expressed appreciation to continuing members for availing themselves to serve a further term, to the outgoing members for the incredible work done and expressed its confidence that the new Council will serve the university and its community very well.
UCT executive report on progress regarding the IRTC recommendations
The executive has developed a response in respect of the recommendations made by the Institutional Reconciliation and Transformation Commission (IRTC). Council noted an update on the progress regarding these recommendations and future progress will routinely be reported through the regular transformation reports of the university.
Reports of the University Audit and Risk Committee
The University Audit and Risk Committee (UARC) reported that it was presented with the 2019 Annual Report including the consolidated Annual Financial Statements at its meeting held on 8 June 2020. The committee endorsed the annual report and the AFS.
Council adopted the report, which will be submitted to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation as required by the regulations on reporting.
UCT Risk Management Policy
Council approved the risk management policy, noting that this policy will support UCT’s commitment to establishing and maintaining a systematic approach to the proactive identification, assessment and management of risk.
Report of the Naming of Buildings Committee
Council noted that the renaming ceremony for the Sarah Baartman Memorial Hall has been postponed due to COVID-19, but that as soon as circumstances allow this matter will receive further attention.
After approving the renaming of the residence JP Duminy Court in December 2019, the Naming of Buildings Committee (NOBC) proposed that it be renamed in honour of Phillip Kgosana. This was approved by Council.
The NOBC also reported that it considered proposals for the naming of three rooms and a space in the Wilfred & Jules Kramer Law Building. Further details will be communicated once the processes are concluded, including consultation with the families concerned.
Report by the University Student Affairs Committee
The University Student Affairs Committee (USAC) submitted proposed amendments to the SRC Electoral Rules for the consideration and approval by Council. Previously the regulations required mainly face-to-face nominations and campaigning, as well as a combination of both face-to-face and online voting. The main rationale for the changes is to enable the Electoral Commission to conduct elections under rapidly changing circumstances. Most of the changes enable online nominations, campaigning and voting and this is crucial to enable the process to constitute the SRC for the next term under the lockdown conditions.
2019 Research Report
Council approved the 2019 Research Report and expressed its appreciation for the quality, diversity and impact of UCT’s research endeavours.
Contract award for Integrated Workplace Management System
Council approved the award of a contract for the licensing and implementation of an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) on the management of the Properties and Services (P&S) portfolio of real estate, infrastructure and soft/hard services. The integrated approach to managing real estate, people, processes and technology has been identified as a best-practice framework for UCT to maximise the potential benefits of the IWMS platform by application of a disciplined process that is structurally, procedurally and actively managed through its implementation lifecycle. Through this approach, UCT would be extending the platform on the investment that it has made in 2007.
Proposed amendments to the Terms of Reference of the University Human Resources Committee
The University Human Resources Committee (UHRC) submitted proposed amendments to its terms of reference, which were approved by Council. The purpose of the UHRC is to ensure effective and coordinated oversight of the development and implementation of human resource strategy and policy, including transformation and employment equity, in support of the university’s vision and mission, with specific attention to UCT’s ability to create the conditions in which it is able to attract, recruit and retain appropriate talent.
One of the key proposed amendments relates to ensuring that the implementation of employment equity processes and reporting is properly facilitated and reported upon, thereby contributing to the achievement of employment equity targets and objectives as well as complying with employment equity legislation.
Appointment of Executive Director: Research and Director: GSB
Council considered reports from the respective selection committees and approved recommendations for appointments. The details remain confidential until the candidates concerned have been informed, after which the university executive will make the necessary announcements.
Report of the Professor Mayosi Panel
Council considered and resolved to accept the report of the Professor Bongani Mayosi panel. The university has since communicated further in this regard as far as the release of the report is concerned.
Mr Sipho M Pityana
Chair of UCT Council
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