Changes in UCT’s Leadership Lekgotla

29 April 2022 | VC Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

Dear colleagues and students

I write to advise you of some important and exciting changes related to positions in the Leadership Lekgotla at the University of Cape Town (UCT), both temporarily and permanently.

In particular I am pleased to announce that the pilot of an initiative we have previously developed has now reached the stage of being implemented within various departments which will have an impact on the achievement of employment equity targets in senior positions within our institution.

The Executive Transformation Initiative (ETI) is an intentional plan that seeks to ensure the appointment of incumbents into senior leadership positions. The ETI was conceptualised in accordance with the VC’s 2030 Strategic Vision, specifically Goal 4: Organisational ethos that supports new ways of thinking, being and doing with respect to the following objectives:

  • Implement the accelerated transformation strategy (demographic and institutional cultural transformation)
  • Recruit, develop and retain talent (PASS and academic)
  • Develop and implement an effective succession planning strategy and plan (PASS and academic)
  • Ensure effective management of performance
  • Antifragile innovation

The pilot implementation is consistent with current, Council approved policies and practices for early retirement, fixed term post-early retirement contracts and recruitment. It is consistent with the requirements for consultation, transparency, selection and fair competition for staff appointments. All appointments made in terms of the ETI will contribute to and accelerate the achievement of UCT’s transformation and employment equity goals and the employment equity targets in the relevant department or division of the university.

The positions identified as part of the pilot were primarily identified by the incumbents themselves who had previously raised issues of future planning and their intentions with their executive leadership. Once the ETI pilot has run its course the UCT executive will make an assessment of the viability of a broader roll-out of the project.

In terms of the ETI project the Executive Director for Human Resources (HR), Ms Miriam Hoosain will be taking early retirement. Mr Bongani Ndaba has volunteered to take up the position of acting Executive Director of HR from 1 May 2022. A selection process will be instituted in time, aligned with normal UCT due process and Mr Ndaba will compete for the substantive position during that process. Ms Hoosain, who has been the ED for HR since 1 January 2011, will support the acting ED in an advisory capacity prior to the selection process and will also support the new executive director whoever that is, once appointed, for a short period. In accordance with the initiative Ms Hoosain will then retire early from UCT. We will find an appropriate time to thank Ms Hoosain for her service to UCT.

I am also pleased to report that Ms Sarah Archer, who was recently appointed as the new Executive Director of the Development and Alumni Department (DAD), has indicated that she will join us on 1 May rather than 1 June 2022 which was previously agreed and announced. We look forward to welcoming her earlier and look forward to her leadership in continuing key work in this important area. Please see the communication announcing her appointment, including her curriculum vitae.

With the landscape of higher education having changed over the last few years the Office of the Vice-Chancellor (VC) is having to continuously provide information on the financial position of the institution whilst negotiating government subsidies and balancing the complexities of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme as well as enrolments. The perpetual decline of government subsidies, together with the nuances of grant funding coupled with interventions on third stream income have necessitated closer scrutiny from the UCT Finance Committee and Council. On account of the VC having to serve and update the Council as well as national committees, it makes business sense for the Executive Director of Finance to report to the VC. We have thus changed the designation to Chief Financial Officer and Mr Vincent Motholo now reports to the VC directly.

The UCT Leadership Lekgotla plays a critical governance role in our institution. I am very pleased that we continue to find individuals of the highest calibre to assist me in steering our institution ever further towards our goals.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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