In 2022, for several months, the Communication and Marketing Department (CMD) was somewhere between storming and norming – storming because the sessions with the Institute for Justice & Reconciliation (IJR) were tough to process; however, colleagues used the space and time (norming) as a means to question where we are going, how we will get there, and why we are going there. The workshops were compulsory, and many staff consistently engaged during the sessions. There seemed to be less anxiety in the room towards the end of the IJR sessions, which ran from November 2021 to October 2022.
At the end of the sessions, CMD found itself in a difficult position. Our executive director (ED) was on leave and our director left the University of Cape Town (UCT) at the end of October 2022. The former vice-chancellor tasked an interim CMD leadership management advisory group (LMAG) to fulfill ED and director responsibilities.
CMD spent R125 000 on Transformation, Inclusion and Diversity (TID) work. This represents 0.32% of the department’s total budget which was R38 084 974; however, it represents 4% of R3 111 833, which was the ED’s available operating budget for 2022. This is a better measure of the department’s financial investment in TID as it strips out fixed operating costs such as salaries.
From a demographic perspective, the use of the Employment Equity (EE) month-end reports was beneficial, and the EE calculator became easier to action. Our cluster’s EE Committee met in late November 2022, and as a department, CMD nominated its representative Jolene Steenkamp to this committee.
The CMD executive agreed to focus on the Transformation Plan (completing the work with the IJR). Once that was done, they focused on the Inclusion Plan. This had to be done to protect the staff’s well-being and to ensure they could still meet UCT’s operational outputs.
The CMD staff complement remains diverse; however, CMD has yet to formally employ a disabled person. Since there was a change in CMD’s leadership structure, with the CMD executive structure falling away. LMAG empowered the heads within the department to run the department’s weekly management meeting – this meeting was normally chaired by the director or deputy director. Heads were also encouraged to meet more regularly on their own and to work on project briefs together before presenting those to LMAG.
The year 2022 was an unusual one for CMD. It was characterised not only by unexpected internal changes, but also by many external crises of a complex nature, which CMD had to manage on behalf of the university. Despite this, colleagues remained committed to the IJR work, to EE for recruitment processes and by appointing an EE representative in the cluster and regular Transformation Committee meetings. The team published many content pieces on transformation, inclusion, and diversity work at UCT through UCT News website, external media and social media platforms. Units have also, through their quarterly finance and operational reports from the second quarter, started to report on TID work outputs per quarter.
CMD colleagues should be commended for their commitment to the IJR journey. Hopefully that investment of time, energy, honesty, vulnerability and views will yield many rewards for CMD in future.
CMD Interim Transformation Committee Chair