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On the proposed changes to our statute – UCT

University wants to reduce members of convocation on council, increase ministerial appointees

Proposed changes to the UCT Statute

27 June 2019

The Council of the University of Cape Town (UCT) is considering the recommendations of a Council task team with regards to changes to the composition of the Council, which in turn will require amendments to the UCT statute.

The Higher Education Act 101 of 1997, as amended, prescribes the composition of university councils and stipulates the inclusion of not more than five persons appointed by the Minister of Higher Education and Training. Currently, UCT’s Council includes three ministerial appointees. It is the intention of the UCT Council that the university should comply with the legislation that makes provision for up to five ministerial appointees and that the composition of the Council be adjusted for this purpose. In addition, further amendments are contemplated and these are recorded below.

It is a requirement of South African law that the council of a public higher education institution consist of not more than 30 members, and that 60% of the members of the council be external members, ie. persons who are neither employees nor students of the higher education institution concerned.

All public universities in South Africa, except UCT, have five ministerial appointees as members of their respective councils. Not all universities have their full executive (vice-chancellor and deputy vice-chancellors) as members of council. Most universities have fewer than four members of convocation as members of council, and no university has more than 4 members in this category of membership.

The number of members appointed for reasons of required expertise and for reasons of achieving diversity balance as needed is typically high at most universities. This is a critical category as it allows for considered discretionary appointment to councils over and above the appointment and election of members, where such appointment and election processes may not necessarily yield the mix of expertise and diversity that councils need. At UCT, the relevant mechanism for appointments in this category is via the Appointments Committee of Council.

The proposed changes to the UCT Council composition are as follows:

 

Current dispensation

Amendments proposed

Rationale

Vice-Chancellor

1

1

No change

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC)

Up to 4

1

Not all universities have all of their DVCs as members of Council.

Council will make provision for a mechanism by which the DVC member of Council is decided.

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Not specifically included in the provisions of the UCT Statute

1

The COO position at UCT is new, introduced for the first time in 2019.

COO membership of Council is deemed necessary given the wide scope of the portfolio of the COO.

Ministerial representatives

3

5

This will bring UCT in line with the public university sector in South Africa and is in keeping with what is provisioned in the Higher Education Act 101, as amended.

Members of convocation

6

4

Reducing the number of members in this category brings UCT closer to the trend for the South African higher education sector. Most universities have fewer than four members in this category, and no university has more than four members.

Academic staff

1

1

No change

Members of Senate

3

3

No change

Professional, administrative support and service (PASS) staff

1

 

Refer below for details of changes in this category.

PASS staff in pay classes 2–6

 

1

This takes into account that with insourcing the PASS staff cohort at UCT has increased significantly. Allowance is made for representation in two bands of PASS staff by level of appointment.

PASS staff in pay classes PC 7–13

 

1

Refer above for details of changes in this category.

Appointed by donors

2

2

No change

Appointed by the City of Cape Town

1

1

Each of the universities located in the Western Cape has a local government representative on Council.

Appointed by the Premier of the Western Cape

1

1

Each of the universities located in the Western Cape has a provincial government representative on Council.

Appointments Committee of Council

5

5

No change

Students / Students’ Representative Council

2

3

Student representation will stand at 10% of the total membership of Council.

Total

30

30

 

You are invited to comment on the proposals above and submit your comments by 19 July 2019 to [email protected].

Issued by Royston Pillay, Registrar, UCT, 27 June 2019