A message from the Chair of Council

30 June 2024 | Norman Arendse SC

Dear members of the UCT community

The University of Cape Town (UCT) Council held its final meeting of its four-year term on Saturday, 22 June 2024. However, due to the lengthy agenda, we adjourned until Thursday, 27 June. The term of the current Council ends on 30 June 2024.

I am writing on behalf of my fellow Council members to express our gratitude to the UCT community for the commitment you all have shown towards excellence and accountability. I commend UCT’s academic and professional, administrative support and service (PASS) staff in particular for keeping the university on track so that the academic project would continue to thrive during our recent period of uncertainty and transition.

During the four-year term that most Council members have just completed, a great deal of progress was made towards positive change at UCT. For instance:

  • Council approved Vision 2030, the strategy document that was produced in consultation with people across the campus community.
  • We have worked with the UCT executive over the past three years to address fee-related issues and ongoing challenges around financial support via NSFAS, and to enable students to register despite their outstanding debt.
  • We established a new Social, Ethics and Transformation Committee and approved the UCT Policy on Sexual Misconduct, to help develop an institutional culture that is free of all forms of sexual harassment, and where everyone’s integrity, dignity, privacy and right to equity are respected.
  • Council approved the proposal for an annual eponymous Bongani Mayosi Memorial Lecture to celebrate the excellence in African scholarship and science that the late Professor Mayosi promoted.
  • We addressed concerns about the effectiveness of the Office of the Ombud and appointed Ms Nashira Abrahams to that important position in 2023.
  • We dealt with challenges arising from the UCT fire of April 2021. We also worked on an approach to help the safe transition to face-to-face teaching on campus as the COVID-19 crisis began to abate.
  • We established an Independent Investigation Panel, under Judge Lex Mpati, to investigate lapses in governance at UCT. After receiving the panel’s report, we took definitive steps to address these lapses, to apologise to those who were harmed by them and to move UCT forward into a culture of accountable leadership. Part of this process included my appointment as Chair of Council after the resignation of the former chair, to ensure steady leadership at Council level.
  • Council’s oversight of UCT’s operations included support of the executive and Senate in their stewardship of the university’s academic enterprise, including teaching, learning and research; approval of the Whistleblowing Policy as recommended by the University Audit and Risk Committee; and the work of the University Naming Committee (previously called the Naming of Buildings Committee) to extend its remit to naming virtual spaces as well as physical spaces and buildings, to create a more inclusive, diverse, multilingual and multicultural learning environment that is informed by UCT’s African identity.
  • And finally, in May 2024, it was my pleasure to announce, on behalf of Council, the appointment of Professor Mosa Moshabela as UCT’s 11th vice-chancellor, effective from 1 October 2024.

The new Council will commence its term on 1 July 2024. Its term of office will run until 30 June 2028. I have every confidence that UCT will continue to thrive under the leadership the new Council will provide alongside that of the incoming vice-chancellor.

We look forward to the commencement of the new Council’s term, and to a future that will continue to be shaped by our shared commitment to unleashing human potential to create a fair and just society.


Norman Arendse (SC)
Chair of UCT Council

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