Mr Sipho Pityana, Chair of the IRTC Steering Committee (and Chair of UCT Council), gives a report back on the first meeting of the committee.
Dear staff and students
Members of the University of Cape Town Special Executive Task Team signed an agreement with student formations on 6 November 2016. (Read the agreement...). The parties expressed a commitment to establishing a multi-stakeholder steering committee to oversee the proposed Institutional Reconciliation and Transformation Commission (IRTC) and other processes covered by the agreement.
This commitment reflects a recognition of the importance of shaping the restorative process in an inclusive way to maximise participation in, and support for, the outcomes of the IRTC. The University Council subsequently endorsed both the proposal of an IRTC and the composition of the steering committee that would oversee the IRTC. It should also be recognised that the university places a great amount of confidence in the steering committee to develop and guide a process that will ultimately address issues of great complexity. The first meeting of the IRTC steering committee was held on 26 January 2017. The manner in which the meeting was conducted and concluded not only reflected the commitment of the UCT community to address these challenging matters, but also our ability to reach consensus on difficult issues in the spirit of robust debate and dialogue.
The purpose of the initial meeting was to determine the following processes: operational procedures for the steering committee, provisional terms of reference for the IRTC, the criteria for selection of commissioners and a provisional timeframe for the work of the IRTC. Twelve out of 13 constituencies were represented in the first meeting of the steering committee, which I chaired: the Student Representative Council, Shackville TRC, other student formations, Deans, Heads of Departments, Senate, Executive Directors, the Black Academic Caucus, alumni, the PASS Forum, the Employees Union, the Academics Union and the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union. Trade unions with whom UCT has concluded an agreement on organisational rights were invited, but were not represented in the first meeting.
The following points were agreed by the meeting:
1. Operational procedures
2. Provisional terms of reference for the IRTC
Provisional terms of reference are clustered into two broad areas, as per the agreement of 6 November 2016:
3. Framework for selecting commissioners
The committee decided on a maximum of five commissioners. Three will constitute a quorum. Each constituency may nominate up to five commissioners. The steering committee will consider the nominations and make a recommendation to Council to appoint the commissioners. The call for nominations for commissioners, together with the agreed criteria for commissioners, will be sent out to the university community in February and again when students have registered in March. Nominations will close on 17 March 2017. Members of the university community will be asked to send their nominations, accompanied by a motivation, to their respective representatives on the steering committee. A portal will be set up to receive nominations.Yours sincerely
Mr Sipho M Pityana
Chair of the IRTC steering committee (and Chair of UCT Council)
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The Institutional Reconciliation and Transformation Commission (IRTC) Steering Committee was established as a result of a period of unprecedented tension at the University of Cape Town (UCT) at the end of 2016. The creation of the multi-stakeholder steering committee that will oversee the proposed IRTC was one of the resolutions made in the 6 November 2016 agreement, which effectively brought the waves of continuing protest at the university to a halt.
The agreement, which was signed between the UCT executive and protesting student groups, paved the way for the establishment of the IRTC, whose aims are to
The IRTC’s objective is to map an inclusive and fair course for the university as it tackles the legacy of the so-called Shackville protests and to focus on the issues that have caused division on our university campus.
Read IRTC documents:
Feedback and responses to the IRTC report: