Load-shedding and other updates

17 October 2019 | Campus Announcement

Dear students and colleagues

This campus announcement aims to inform members of the University of Cape Town (UCT) community about:

1. Load-shedding

UCT has put measures in place to ensure that minimal teaching and learning time is lost during load-shedding, and that the impact on all other university operations is reduced as much as possible. Both Eskom and the City of Cape Town issue regular notices in advance of load-shedding. UCT’s upper, middle and lower campuses, the health sciences campus and all residences are in Area 15. Hiddingh campus and the Graduate School of Business are in Area 7. Staff and students are encouraged to check load-shedding schedules regularly and to plan accordingly. The university has a limited number of venues with full back-up power which can be booked for study purposes, but these may not be available if they are already booked for other purposes.

They are:

  • Upper campus: Sports Centre, Chancellor Oppenheimer Library and Sarah Baartman Hall
  • Middle campus: Kramer Building
  • The entire Hiddingh campus.

Some UCT facilities have generators to provide back-up power that is limited to research activities, emergency lighting, some power points, and access and fire-detection systems. Other UCT facilities have uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) that will provide emergency lighting and some power points for a limited time – usually about two hours. Wi-Fi will unfortunately not be available in most UCT buildings during power outages. Although UCT IP landlines will not function during load-shedding, the Campus Protection Services (CPS) landline (080 650 2222) will still be operational.

UCT has over 100 lifts. Staff and students are cautioned not to use these lifts 10 minutes prior to scheduled load-shedding times. Some of the lifts have emergency dial-out systems that will allow communication with CPS, which you are advised to use if necessary. Alternatively, if you have airtime make use of your cellphone to contact CPS on 021 650 2222/3.

2. Hoax email targeting the Vice-Chancellor

Some UCT staff members have received an email, apparently from UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, requesting their help in running an errand. On further engagement with the sender, recipients are then asked to either transfer money into an account, or buy some kind of voucher. The message – which is a confirmed hoax – is another of a number of methods employed by scammers attempting to con unsuspecting recipients.

In these phishing attacks, the sender impersonates an authority figure. When the recipient reads the message, they feel compelled to assist – given the stature of the sender. Staff and students are encouraged to avoid being duped by watching out for the following suspicious signs:

  • Is the sender’s email address legitimate?
  • Is the message poorly written?
  • Is the call to action highly unusual? Does it involve a financial transaction of some sort? Is the sender creating urgency around the request?

All of these and other signs can quickly indicate that the message is a hoax.

If staff or students do receive a surprise request from the VC, or any other high-profile figure, take a few moments to check whether the message is legitimate. If it’s fraudulent, or if you’re not sure, don’t respond, and don’t click on any links in the message. Instead, report it to the IT Helpdesk and await further advice.

For further tips on avoiding these kinds of scams, read the UCT Computer Security Incident Response Team’s article on how to spot a phishing email, which also contains a useful infographic that will hopefully assist you to quickly determine whether or not an email is legitimate.

3. December 2019 graduation roster

UCT Senate and Council have approved the roster of graduation ceremonies. There will be a total six ceremonies, taking place on Thursday 12 December, Friday 13 December and Monday 23 December 2019.

4. Safety on campus

The safety of UCT students and staff is among the university’s key responsibilities. Several changes and initiatives have been put in place to enhance security. The university executive continues to engage with the relevant provincial and national authorities to support the fight against crime. The Campus Protection Services (CPS) emergency number (021 650 2222/3) is printed on the back of every UCT identity card. The CPS 24-hour toll-free number (080 650 2222) can be contacted by students and staff even if they have no airtime on their phones.


Communication and Marketing Department

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