UCT says it is making good progress in addressing the imbalances of its inherited past and plans to reach its employment equity goals. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Cape Town - UCT says it is making good progress in addressing the imbalances of its inherited past and plans to reach its employment equity goals in diversifying both the staff and student profiles.

Deputy vice-chancellor of transformation Loretta Feris said that since 2015, the university’s workforce profile had changed.

When its equity goals were set, 74% of the workforce was from designated groups, of which 68% was made up of black South Africans.

“We know, however, that this shift has happened mostly at the lower- to middle-pay levels,” she said.

A specific concern was that at present 29.07% of academics were black, of which only 9% were black Africans.“Although significant progress has been made with the development of the black South African professoriate this year, it remains a challenge,” Feris said.

“At senior management level the picture looks better: 85% are from designated groups, of which 68.75% are black.

“However, only 6.25% are African black.

“It is evident that the university must become better at succession planning and career pathing, especially for strategic positions,” Feris said.

“The university compiles a report on transformation every year to help more accurately frame the thinking about challenges and experiences at UCT to better accomplish real change.”

One of the key outcomes of the university’s transformation report for 2018 was the new three-year Employment Equity (EE) Plan (2019 to 2021).

UCT’s new EE Plan, which incorporates the EE strategy, comes as a response to a request by the university council in 2017 to develop stretch targets for their employment equity.

Feris said the plan was simultaneously the result of an Employment Equity Act compliance assessment and review by the Department of Labour in February last year.

She said UCT had been found to be non-compliant in a few areas, including its disability targets, the format of the previous plan and the structure of its consultative forum on the plan and its implementation.

Feris said the new plan remedied these concerns and addressed the need for stretched targets.

It aimed to eliminate unfair discrimination and to ensure the fair treatment of staff, students and service providers.

She said the challenge now was implementing the plan within the agreed time frame.

“The main objectives of the plan are to proactively pull together as a university community and ensure that all departments and faculties know where to find the plan and, more importantly, how to use it,” Feris said.

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Cape Argus