Thursday, 30 April

30 April 2020


The University of Cape Town (UCT) is writing to inform you of the guidelines that have been developed with regard to specific staffing-related matters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university will continue to work remotely during stage four and will advise in future if and when this position changes.

Guidelines on staffing matters

We have developed guidelines that have been informed by the government’s strategy on social distancing, UCT’s vision for 2030, institutional strategies for financial and social sustainability, and labour relations prescripts.

If you need clarity on a specific issue please email the Director: HR Client Services, Mr Zaheer Ally, or phone him on 021 650 4226.

A number of queries have arisen in respect of the research enterprise. The UCT executive and researchers are continuing their joint efforts to ensure the stability and continuity of the research enterprise.

We have identified four broad categories of work segmentation to ensure operational continuity:

  • jobs that can be fully performed on a remote working basis
  • jobs that can be performed partially on a remote basis
  • jobs that form part of an essential service and are performed in accordance with a lean staffing model on a rotational basis
  • jobs that cannot be performed remotely.

These four categories help to provide a conceptual framework for handling staffing-related matters.

We have drafted HR guidelines to assist on staffing matters and are providing them as a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). The FAQs address the following areas:

  • UCT contracts of employment
  • Staff recruitment/selection and the extension of fixed-term contracts
  • Management of deliverables during this period.

For issues related to the COVID-19 Temporary Employee-Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) and UIF claims, email Margie Tainton, or call her on 021 650 3028 or 084 582 6461.

Read the COO’s Desk.


This audio newsbyte from the University of Cape Town (UCT) serves to update you on the progress made with remote teaching for undergraduate students.

UCT is providing laptops on loan to eligible students. Delivery of these laptops began on 22 April and is expected to be completed by 8 May.

Deals to provide data bundles to all students have been signed with Cell C, MTN, Telkom and Vodacom, who have also agreed to zero-rate certain important UCT sites. The list of zero-rated sites is available on the ICTS website.

All online learning offerings are asynchronous – the pre-recorded lectures and study materials will be available in Vula, so students will not miss out on any learning. Course conveners will also be flexible in terms of submissions of work. The deadline to make changes in your curriculum has been changed from 8 May to 29 May.

The university is looking into the delivery of printed materials and USB drives for those students who cannot access the internet. 11 May has been set as the start date for distribution.

The UCT Call Centre and Referral System (CARES) is a new support tool being developed to provide student support. Your queries can be directed to

Read the DVC’s Desk.


The process of rebuilding South Africa post-COVID-19 will require energy, creativity, commitment and resilient minds – all qualities that you can find in University of Cape Town (UCT) students, staff and alumni. As stakeholders and supporters of UCT, we have a privilege and a responsibility to help build that future now.

Upon hearing about the outbreak of the pandemic in South Africa, the UCT executive set up the COVID-19 UCT Emergency Fund to assist in the fight against the virus and its impact on the university community. So far, this fund has helped with needs such as:

  • Providing transportation for students needing to return home.
  • Disinfecting buildings.
  • Sourcing and arranging delivery of laptops to students.
  • Purchasing data bundles for students for remote learning.

The laptops alone have incurred a total cost of about R16.4 million.

When the lockdown is lifted and students and staff start returning to campus, the COVID-19 UCT Emergency Fund will help to provide for other needs, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure their safety.

Your support now will help to ensure that UCT continues to play an important role in the growth of South Africa.

UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng has committed 20% of her salary to the COVID-19 UCT Emergency Fund for a three-month period. This is above and beyond her regular monthly donation of 10% of her salary to the Mamokgethi Phakeng Scholarship Fund and her contributions towards her Adopt-A-Learner education trust and other initiatives.

The university is equally grateful to others who share the vice-chancellor’s commitment to higher education, including UCT Chancellor Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe who, late last month, announced the donation of R5 million by the Motsepe Foundation.

The donations barometer – which currently stands at R6.8 million – and donor acknowledgements are available on the Development and Alumni Department website.

The COVID-19 UCT Emergency Fund demonstrates solidarity and a strong commitment to supporting the most vulnerable members of the UCT community.

UCT invites you to pledge your support today.

Read the VC’s Desk.

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