Feedback from Council meeting of June 2024

28 June 2024 | Norman Arendse SC

Dear members of the UCT community

I write on behalf of the University of Cape Town (UCT) Council following its plenary meeting on 22 June 2024, with an extended session on 27 June 2024. The particular significance of this meeting is that it was the last scheduled meeting of the current Council as it concludes its term of office. The new Council will commence its four-year term of office on 1 July 2024.

I wish to extend a sincere appreciation to the members of Council whose term is ending, to thank each of them for their contribution to UCT, having offered their time, expertise, wisdom and guidance over the past four years. The higher education sector in our country has faced and continues to face multiple challenges and there is every indication that many of those challenges will continue. UCT has been through a difficult period as well and this is even more reason to underscore an appreciation for those who have supported our university over the past four years. Thank you.

The following are some of the key matters that Council engaged and decided at its recent meeting.

Governance matters: Council membership with effect from 1 July 2024

The new Council will serve a term from 1 July 2024 to 30 June 2028. By law, Council may not exceed 30 members, of whom 60% must be external persons, ie neither staff nor students. With members having been either elected or appointed, the membership of the new Council has been settled. There will be a measure of continuity of membership as seven of the current external members will again serve on the new Council, having been re-elected or re-appointed. We thank those members for availing themselves again and confirm our gratitude for their contribution to those members whose term will end on 30 June 2024.

The university will shortly be announcing the details of the members of the new Council following the constituting meeting to be held on 6 July 2024 when the office-bearers will be elected. In the meantime, the transitional arrangements as provided for in the institutional statute allow the term of office of the current chairperson and deputy chairperson of Council to continue serving in these roles until the start of the first meeting of the new Council. In addition, Council has authorised its executive committee to take such decisions as may be needed in the interim, except decisions that by law must be made by the full Council.

Annual Financial Statement and Annual Report 2023

Council approved the annual financial statement and the annual report for 2023. It is affirming to note that UCT’s external auditors have expressed an unqualified audit opinion that the consolidated financial statement for the 2023 financial year has been presented fairly and in accordance with established legal requirements. It is excellent that UCT has been able to meet its reporting obligations within the prescribed annual deadline set by the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation. The annual financial statement and the annual report for 2023 is available on the UCT website.

Council continues to monitor matters related to UCT’s financial sustainability and in this regard, it considered a report on the university’s financial sustainability project. This project aims inter alia to balance urgency with long-term impact. The vice-chancellor will continue to lead this project and keep Council and the wider university abreast of developments.

Resolutions regarding the conflict in Gaza

Council had before it the resolutions of the Senate taken at its 19 April 2024 meeting, and following debate on this issue, Council adopted the resolutions of the Senate.

Policy development

Council approved a business continuity policy as recommended by the University Audit and Risk Committee. This policy sets out information that will guide UCT in responding to an unexpected disruption in order to resume, recover and restore the delivery of key university services. The policy serves as a statement of intent regarding the management and implementation of a business continuity management system within the university to advance institutional resilience in the face of operational disruptions. This policy is to be welcomed and will serve the university and its community well.

Strategic and functional enhancements

Council approved recommendations from standing tender adjudicating committees, the outcomes of which are crucial to supporting the university in its mission. This includes:

  • the procurement of a new Microsoft Campus Agreement to maintain continuity in software access, services and support
  • the Cisco Network Infrastructure Support Renewal to support the optimal operation of the university’s network infrastructure
  • the Africa Research Institute for Skin Health (ARISE) which will enhance research and teaching capabilities with a new facility on UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences campus
  • UCT Shuttle maxi (large) and midi (smaller) bus procurement to ensure ongoing provision of safe and reliable shuttle services to students and staff, and
  • an energy management solution for the Faculty of Health Sciences.

All the above in one or another way advances the university’s business continuity obligations, student and staff safety and security, resilience in respect of information technology support and UCT’s academic enterprise.

The 2023 Research Report

Council considered the 2023 research report, a record of outstanding work by UCT’s academics and researchers – supported by professional staff. Research is a fundamental component of UCT’s academic undertaking, and the report bears testimony to the excellent work and contributions of our researchers. Council congratulates the Senate for its stewardship of this part of the academic enterprise.

The 2023 Report of the Ombud

Council engaged with the UCT Ombud on her annual report for 2023. This was a valuable engagement and Council remains firmly of the view that through proactive engagement, guidance and advocacy the UCT Ombud’s Office will continue to advance an inclusive and supportive institutional environment that upholds the values of UCT. Council conveys its appreciation to the Ombud, Ms Nashira Abrahams, and the staff of the Ombud’s Office.

There is no doubt that UCT remains an institution of which we can all be proud. We have a resilient community, an excellent reputation and every reason to be confident about UCT’s future. We look forward to again celebrating the academic success of our students during the September 2024 graduation season. We are confident that as the baton is passed from the current Council to the next (effective 1 July 2024), and from the interim Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Daya Reddy, to the next Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mosa Moshabela (effective 1 October 2024), that UCT will continue to be well-served and will thrive.


Norman Arendse (SC)
Chair of UCT Council

Read previous communications:

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.