A new era for Employment Equity implementation at UCT

25 January 2021 | Professor Loretta Feris

Dear colleagues and students

I am writing to inform you about policy changes in Employment Equity (EE) and to update you on our annual EE reporting. The University of Cape Town (UCT) will press the reset button on EE on 1  February 2021, when our revised Policy on Employment Equity comes into effect, following Council’s approval last month. This policy sets out clear principles that underpin decision making that affects people in the workplace.

The revised policy enables the institution to enter the new year with a fresh approach to EE implementation, by providing clear definitions of key concepts; encapsulating the key principles that are embedded in EE legislation; and covering EE implementation guidelines at every stage of an employee’s life cycle in the organisation, including a dispute resolution mechanism for interpreting UCT’s EE plan.

This revised policy goes into much more detail than the previous two-page document. Through its 14 pages, UCT clearly articulates our strong commitment to staff transformation and their professional development. Similarly, we strengthen and encourage our students to consider UCT as their employer of choice by accelerating the academic pipeline from our pool of exceptional graduates and researchers. The EE policy renews UCT’s commitment to redress, restoring dignity and social justice.

Human Resources Practice Notes are being developed to aid in the implementation of this policy, followed by training for managers and employment equity representatives on the new policy.

I wish to thank all the stakeholders for contributing towards shaping the direction of the new policy, which is the culmination of 18 months of consultation with them. We hope that the policy provides both decision makers and staff members with more support and guidance regarding the implementation of EE in the workplace.

The annually published Employment Equity Report to the government provides some indication of UCT’s progress in implementing EE in the workplace. The most recent report covers the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020. It is essentially a progress report on the university’s three-year EE plan, which was approved by the Department of Employment and Labour in March 2019. At that time, UCT had identified 12 of 23 possible categories as barriers to EE in the workplace. So far, three of those 12 barriers have been sufficiently addressed, with affirmative action measures put in place during the reporting period. These are reflected in how UCT advertises positions, the selection criteria we use and disciplinary measures we follow. The other barriers we identified are still being addressed.

While the global challenges of 2020 have slowed the implementation of affirmative action measures and hindered the general recruitment process at UCT, we nevertheless remain committed to addressing all the EE barriers we have identified. The newly revised EE policy is tangible evidence of our commitment to this important progress. It will help to keep us moving forward at a steady and productive pace towards achieving UCT’s EE goals.


Professor Loretta Feris
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Transformation

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