The announcement of the five commissioners was highly anticipated, and the IRTC can now begin its work in earnest. The IRTC steering committee was convened in 2017 to appoint commissioners who would lead reconciliatory discussions based on the agreement signed on 6 November 2016, which effectively brought a wave of protests on the campus to an end.
“The establishment of the IRTC signals a historic landmark for the university, one that emerged out of an inclusive, consensus-building process, albeit at times a protracted one,” said Pityana, who is also chair of the UCT Council, in the statement. “The success of the process was due in no small measure to the strenuous efforts of the multi-stakeholder IRTC Steering Committee.”
The five commissioners are Dr Yvette Abrahams, Dr Malose Langa, former minister Mosibudi Mangena, Ms Yasmin Sooka and Justice Zak Yacoob.
The commissioners will meet the steering committee, Vice-Chancellor and other crucial stakeholders in early February, after which the IRTC will kick off in full swing.
“Please join me in wishing them every success in their endeavours,” Pityana said.
“We are highly appreciative of all 18 nominees who agreed to put themselves forward for consideration, and we hope to be able to count on them all for their continued support in the future,” he added.
The IRTC’s provisional terms of reference mandate it to do the following:
Look into what is referred to as the ‘Shackville protests’ of February 2016, including any related and subsequent protest actions
Invite submissions from all constituencies on the clemencies granted and make recommendations on converting clemencies into amnesties (or the continuation of clemencies) and what the nature of these amnesties will be
Make recommendations on how to deal with the outstanding cases in the spirit of restorative justice
Inform itself on all recent and ongoing initiatives to address the issues that fall within the broad scope of the IRTC
Invite all constituencies – and be able to request relevant individuals and structures, including task teams – to make submissions on institutional culture and practices, including decolonisation and any that entail unjust discrimination, domination or violence, including sexual violence
Make recommendations on institutional culture, transformation, decolonisation, discrimination, identity, disability, labour relations and any other matters that the university community has raised over the years, or may wish to raise.
To read minutes of previous IRTC steering committee meetings, click here.