19 March 2020
The role of the Institutional Committee for Business Continuity in COVID-19 pandemic
Given our complex organisational structure Stellenbosch University manages unexpected and disruptive events by constituting an appropriate Contingency Committee, with participation by SU Senior Management and colleagues from the divisions within the university affected by the disruption. In recent years such committees were used to manage the disruptions caused by, amongst others, the Huis ten Bosch fire, the drought crisis and the Van der Sterr fire. The University has gained considerable experience in the mitigation of such disruptions.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the associated state of national disaster declared in South Africa present a more complex disruption with far-reaching implications. Hence the Rectorate decided to convene an extended version of the usual Contingency Committee structure to ensure swift execution of decisions. An overarching Institutional Committee for Business Continuity (ICBC), the leadership of which was delegated to the Chief Operating Officer, Prof Stan du Plessis, was convened to oversee and synthesise input from 11 subcommittees, each focusing on key facets of the University's activities affected by the pandemic.
The ICBC consists of the following members (in alphabetic order):
- Mr Ebrahiem Abrahams, Director: Employee Relations (*Human Resources)
- Ms Gretchen Arangies, COO BPK campus
- Mr MJ Brooks, Chair of the Faculty Managers' Forum
- Prof Eugene Cloete, DVC: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies (*Medical and Research)
- Prof Stan du Plessis, COO, (*Chair)
- Prof Hester Klopper, DVC: Strategy and Internationalisation
- Prof Nico Koopman, DVC: Social Impact, Transformation and Personnel
- Mr Gerhard Lipp, Senior Director: Legal Services
- Ms Ilhaam Groenewald, Chief Director: Sport
- Mr Attie Juyn, Senior Director: IT (*Information Technology)
- Ms Beire Kramer (secretariat)
- Mr Robert Kotze, Senior Director: Stellenbosch University International (*International)
- Mr Manie Lombard, Chief Director: Finance
- Dr Choice Makhetha, Senior Director: Student Affairs (*Student Affairs)
- Mr Lewis Mboko, SRC Chair
- Mr Eben Mouton: Senior Director Business Management, FMHS
- Ms Anita Nel, Chief Director: Innovation and Business Development (*Student Housing)
- Dr Ronel Retief, Registrar (*Registrar's matters)
- Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, DVC: Teaching and Learning
- Ms Nicolette van den Eijkel, Chief Director: Facilities Management (*Facilities and Security)
- Dr Antoinette van der Merwe, Senior Director: Learning and Teaching Enhancement (*Online Learning and Assessment)
- Ms Susan van der Merwe, acting Snr Director Corporate Communications (*Communication)
- Dr Viljoen van der Walt, Director: Risk Management and Campus Security
- Dr Leslie van Rooi, Senior Director: Social Impact
- Dr Pierre Viviers, Senior Director: Campus Health Services
- Prof Jimmy Volmink, Chair of the Deans' Forum
*Chair of the indicated subcommittee
The subcommittees are: facilities and security, international matters, student housing, Registrar's matters, human resources, student affairs, communication, online learning and assessment, IT, medical matters, and research. While the subcommittees are mandated to make operational decisions in their area of concern, decisions that impact institutionally, have to be reported to the Institutional Committee for Business Continuity where the final decision will be taken. The ICBC also implements the University's Crisis Communication Plan in collaboration with the subcommittee on communications and the Division for Corporate Communications
The ICBC and all its subcommittees are working purposefully to ensure that the University will be able to resume its teaching and learning programme on 30 March through our online platform. Measures are also put in place to ensure that the university's research and social impact agenda as well as the operational activities can continue.
The SU leadership act in the best interest of our students and staff and understand that this pandemic creates uncertainty and apprehension. We wish to assure our students and staff that the University is committed to ensuring as safe an environment as possible, with medical and other support, while we do our utmost to honour our commitment to students to create an environment conducive to the successful completion of the academic year. We also rely on each staff member and our students to assist the University in the implementation of the measures we announce from the ICBC.
Please take care of yourselves, your friends and colleagues.
Prof Wim de Villiers
Rector and Vice-Chancellor