UCT has refuted allegations of nepotism after it came to light that interim Vice-Chancellor Professor Daya Reddy was the brother-in-law of Registrar Royston Pillay.
Reddy was appointed in March following former Vice-Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng's departure from the university.
However, the institution says this was declared upfront and had no influence on his appointment, which was based on his academic standing and the strong leadership qualities.
“It must be noted that Emeritus Professor Reddy was identified for consideration as Vice-Chancellor (interim) by the former Chair of Council, and that in considering his appointment, his familial relationship to the Registrar was made completely transparent; and appropriate arrangements made for dealing with areas which might give rise to potential conflicts of interest.
“Professor Reddy’s appointment was overwhelmingly supported and approved at Council, following the support by some 87% of the Senate. In approving and supporting the appointment of Professor Reddy, Council has endeavoured to ensure that there is stability at senior leadership level, and that UCT’s reputation is restored following the upheavals of the preceding months. This, we have noted, has been the case over the past few months,” said deputy chair of council Malcolm Campbell.
It was recently reported that Pillay who initially tendered his resignation in December allegedly due to strained relations with Phakeng, had made a u-turn after her exit.
Council had allegedly passed a motion to offer him “18 months’ compensation at his current level of remuneration”. Pillay would allegedly be paid R4 million.
“It should also be noted that there has been no payout to the Registrar.
This would only occur upon the early voluntary termination of his contract, and forms part of approved policies and practices of UCT with respect to Incentivised Early Retirement (IER) and the Executive Transformation Incentive (ETI),” said Campbell.
UCT said it was Council that approached Pillay to reconsider the terms of his departure and he agreed to do so.
It said an Ad-hoc Governance Sub-Committee handled the process of engaging Pillay on reconsidering his resignation, normally the Vice-Chancellor would have been the tasked with this.
Campbell meanwhile said Council has demanded an investigation into leaks of “sensitive and confidential” Council information.
“The persistence of leaks of sensitive and confidential Council information demands investigation and urgent action on the part of Council, and it appears that we are getting closer to identifying the source of these leaks.”