UCT Council agrees on roadmap to fix past governance failures

14 November 2023 | Norman Arendse

Dear members of the UCT campus community

The University of Cape Town (UCT) Council met on Saturday, 11 November 2023 to discuss the implementation plan of the recommendations made by the report of the independent panel of investigation on governance matters at UCT during the period 2018–2022.

At the meeting, Council reaffirmed its commitment to remedying past governance failures and strengthening current structures by complying with UCT’s regulations and policies and enforcing the Council code of conduct. This includes ensuring the delineation of the oversight governance role of Council from the executive management function together with matters that fall within the purview of the Senate. Student governance via the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) and the role of the Institutional Forum (IF) remain important arms of institutional governance.

Strengthening the governance framework through Council

A Council sub-committee will establish a framework to strengthen the university’s governance. This will include induction processes for Council members, reviews of Council performance, tightening the terms of reference for key committees of Council, alignment of the functions to execute Council decisions through the management systems and without any undue impediments that may undermine good governance. The governance role of key committees of Council, like the Remuneration Committee of Council and the University Human Resources Committee, as well as the operational function of key university departments, will be included in this process.

Specific recommendations made by the panel

Council took further resolutions:

  1. to report wrongdoing by individuals to external professional bodies
  2. to initiate disciplinary procedures in instances where university jurisdiction applies
  3. to reassign the executive reporting line for Human Resources to the Vice-Chancellor
  4. to recall the current chair of the University Human Resources Committee from that role and from all other Council committees to which Council had made this appointment
  5. to offer a written apology to be posted on the UCT website to those who had been wronged as referenced in the report of the panel, and so too in the case of the 37 anonymous complainants referred to in the Ombud Report referenced in the report of the panel.

A new era of good governance

We believe that this revised focus on governance will set the right tone for a future marked by accountability and transparency. The measures agreed to in the roadmap and framework will live beyond the term of the current Council and go a long way in ensuring that the failures as identified in the report of the panel do not happen again. Council is determined to ensure UCT moves forward and in doing so restore the university community and the public’s trust and confidence in us as a leading institution of higher learning.


Norman Arendse (SC)
Chair of Council

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