Annual Bongani Mayosi Memorial Lecture and other updates

26 January 2023

Dear colleagues

The University of Cape Town (UCT) community is reminded of the Annual Bongani Mayosi Memorial Lecture on Saturday, 28 January 2023. Read about this and other recent developments on campus.

1. Annual Bongani Mayosi Memorial Lecture

In celebration of African scholarship and to honour the legacy of a foremost scientist and clinician, the Annual Bongani Mayosi Memorial Lecture will take place this Saturday, 28 January 2023 in a hybrid format. The lecture will be hosted by the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences, in partnership with the Bongani Mayosi Foundation, at a fundraising gala dinner on the late professor’s birthday.

  • The in-person session will take place at Pigalle Restaurant in Green Point, Cape Town at 17:30 for 18:00.
  • The online session will commence at 18:30, and a live link will be provided.

The guest speaker for the lecture is Professor Abdool Salim Karim, director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa.

The funds raised will go towards supporting the work of the foundation which include projects such as the Bongani Mayosi National Students Academic Prize for final-year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) students, where one final-year MBChB student in each South African university is voted for by classmates for best balancing academic excellence and social responsiveness. Another project is the Critical Scholars Programme. This is an intercalated degree programme already successful in producing clinical scientist graduates with medical qualifications.

The foundation’s fundraising gala dinner will raise much-needed funds to continue their important work.

2. Hybrid spaces available for hosting meetings

There are some staff members still working remotely, therefore there is a need for spaces where colleagues both on-campus and at home can meet and collaborate. The Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) department is offering colleagues a unique opportunity to experience sophisticated hybrid meeting rooms, as part of a pilot project which runs until the end of February.

3. Reminder: UCT Summer School 2023

The UCT Summer School 2023 is currently underway, taking place until Saturday, 28 January 2023.

The school continues its culture of presenting world-class lectures and courses in art, music, history, current affairs, medicine, science, literature and information technology.

For further enquiries please contact Dr Medee Rall.

4. Update on COVID-19 subvariant XBB 1.5

The COVID-19 subvariant XBB1.5 has become dominant in a number of countries, and many have taken precautions to prevent its spread. On Tuesday, 10 January 2023, the South African National Department of Health (NDoH) shared an update on COVID-19, including information on the highly transmissible XBB.1.5 variant.

The NDoH notified the public that this subvariant had been identified in South Africa. However, the department mentioned that although it is more transmissible, there is currently no indication of any change in the severity of illness and fatalities caused by this subvariant.

We urge all within the UCT community to continue with our 3-V’s approach (vaccination, ventilation and vigilance) as set towards the end of 2022.

Should you present with COVID-19 symptoms and test positive, please isolate for at least seven days. Please note that absence by staff from work or by students from academic activities will be treated as normal sick leave.

Several vaccination sites remain available.

5. Update on Leadership Lekgotla roles

An update was shared on three Leadership Lekgotla roles, namely: the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC): Teaching and Learning (T&L), the Dean of the Faculty of Science, and the Executive Director: Human Resources (ED: HR).

Professor Harsha Kathard took up the role as acting DVC: T&L in May 2022 and her term was to end on 31 December 2022. At an ordinary meeting held in October 2022, Council approved the extension of her acting term to 30 June 2023.

Professor Maano Ramutsindela, the Dean of the Faculty of Science, has requested to step down from this role at the end of June 2023 due to personal reasons. Professor Ramutsindela took up his position on 1 March 2019, and his contribution has been invaluable. The process of appointing a new dean of Science will now commence, with an intention of concluding it prior to Professor Ramutsindela’s departure.

In April 2022, the UCT community was informed that the ED: HR, Ms Miriam Hoosain had volunteered to be a participant in the Executive Transformation Initiative (ETI). Subsequently, Mr Bongani Ndaba was appointed as acting ED: HR from 1 May 2022. Mr Ndaba’s acting tenure has been extended to 30 June 2023, for continuity purposes. The selection process for the position is currently underway and the position is expected to be filled in due course.

6. UCT exco committed to resolving bargaining issues

The UCT executive is currently engaging with the Academics Union (AU) over wage negotiations, this is to avert possible protest action. The executive remains open and transparent on the university’s financial outlook and its implications for the many areas of operations.

The executive is committed to resolving any issues relating to bargaining engagements with the AU as it relates to the wage demands.

The campus community is assured that at best there will be minimal to no impact on university activities. All university activities are scheduled to continue as planned.

7. Annual Declaration of Interests 2023

All UCT staff members and members of university committees must make a full annual declaration of their financial interests and fiduciary roles and those of their immediate family members. The declaration of interest form must be submitted by Friday, 24 February 2023.

This is a requirement of the Higher Education Act and applies to all staff members irrespective of their roles or positions. The process for declaration of interest is a critical part of the university’s governance, risk and compliance management system.

If you experience technical difficulties in accessing the form, please contact ICTS for assistance.

8. Amathuba progress and what lies ahead for 2023

UCT’s new digital learning platform, Amathuba, was implemented during the first semester of 2022. A total of 41 pilot courses were taught on Amathuba to trial the platform. Just over 200 first-year courses will be launched on Amathuba in the first semester in 2023. More than half of first-year courses have now been successfully migrated and converted to Amathuba. The Centre for Innovation in Learning & Teaching (CILT) is working closely with first-year course convenors, teaching staff and administrators to complete the migration and conversion of as many of the remaining first-year courses.

There are various support options available for course convenors, teaching or administrative staff for first-year courses, or site owners of first-year academic student support sites.

Amathuba stand-alone webinars are also available on the CILT YouTube channel.

For further support, please email the CILT Helpdesk or call 021 650 5500 (between 09:00 and 17:00, from Monday to Friday).

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