Dear members of the UCT community
The University of Cape Town (UCT) Council convened its third ordinary meeting for this year on 15 October 2022. I write, on behalf of Council, to update our UCT community on key matters considered at the meeting and to inform you of some of the decisions taken.
Firstly, and as you already know, Council adopted a resolution to establish an independent panel led by a retired judge as referenced in the communiqué issued by the Deputy Chair of Council immediately after the meeting on 15 October.
Please note the below further feedback on some of the other items discussed by Council.
UCT ICT Strategy 2030
Council gave its support to the ICT strategy developed by the UCT IT Strategy Working Group, chaired by Professor Ulrike Rivett. This strategy, which is aligned to UCT’s Vision 2030, is regarded as a ‘living document’ and is therefore open to ongoing review in response to a changing world. The intention is to inter alia ensure capacity for a digitally enabled university community and to deliver ICT systems that are financially sustainable. The implementation plans will describe the technologies and related timeframes. This is an exciting and very necessary initiative, important to support UCT’s core business and the enabling systems. Council will continue to review the progress in this regard.
Academic core business
Council engaged with the 2021 Postgraduate Report and was pleased to note the critical work undertaken in postgraduate education at UCT. This is a vital component of UCT’s core business and Council congratulates the Senate, faculties and the academic community – supported by professional, administrative and support service (PASS) staff – for the excellent record of work done, and for the initiatives as detailed in the report. UCT is certainly making important contributions towards nurturing the development of thought leaders and expertise. We encourage you to read this important report, which will be made available in due course via the usual university platforms.
Council also approved the Postgraduate Admissions Policy as recommended by Senate, and in fulfilment of a requirement of higher education legislation.
The 2021 fire remains uppermost in the minds of many. Council reviewed the 2021 Libraries Report, a comprehensive record of the natural disaster shock that UCT endured last year. At the same time, this report is also an encouraging account of resilience, community spirit and a look into the future; and a reminder of the wonderful work that UCT Libraries delivers as a fundamental component of UCT’s academic mission.
In addition to the Postgraduate Admissions Policy referred to above, Council also approved the Gifts and Hospitality Policy. This policy is important for a range of reasons, including efforts to support the avoidance of conflicts of interest and to promote transparency and probity in the conduct of the university’s business. Council is satisfied that this policy will serve its intended purpose.
Our institution’s financial state of health is a critical part of Council’s business. Council agreed to convene a workshop in November 2022 to give due and focused attention to this matter, and to do so ahead of the December 2022 meeting where the critical issue of the 2023 budget will be before Council. UCT’s financial stability is a priority, and every effort will be made to balance the range of financial demands that the university faces in this critical time and what is likely to be a challenging period ahead, for UCT and for the higher education sector.
Allow me to convey on Council’s behalf our thanks to staff and students for continuing to support UCT’s interests, and our gratitude to the many supporters of UCT who remain so generous in their efforts to continue to fly the flag of our university.
Babalwa Ngonyama, CA (SA)
Chair of UCT Council
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