Remembering former VC Saunders and other updates

24 February 2021 | Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues and students

To keep abreast of recent developments on campus, members of the UCT community are urged to peruse this latest campus announcement.

1. Celebrating the life of Emeritus Professor Saunders

The UCT community is invited to join the university leadership and the Saunders family to celebrate and reflect on the life of former UCT Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Stuart Saunders, who passed away on 12 February. The virtual memorial service will be held on Wednesday, 24 February 2021 at 19:00 SAST via the MS Teams platform. Those who may wish to post tributes and personal memories are invited to do so by emailing

The university has also created a dedicated feature page paying tribute to Saunders.

2. Limited funding for 2020 debt appeals and 2021 financial assistance. 

UCT remains committed to providing financial assistance to eligible students at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Preliminary (unaudited) estimates show that in 2020, a total of R1.4 billion went towards student financial assistance. This total comprises R970 million (undergraduate) and R460 million (postgraduate).

Despite the financial and related pressures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, UCT has made available limited funding to provide some financial assistance to students who still have outstanding fees for the 2020 academic year and who are at risk of being unable to continue with their studies in 2021. The university’s funding remains limited, and only students who meet specified eligibility requirements can be considered for funding.

3. Returning students urged to register timeously

Registration for returning students is taking place online and runs until the end of February. Students are encouraged to visit their respective faculty websites and PeopleSoft self-service for more information on registration and also familiarise themselves with the latest academic calendar. Teaching and learning in the 2021 academic year will be pursued in terms of a physically distanced, low density campus approach to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

4. Selection of a DVC for Transformation for 2022–2026

The current five-year term of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC): Transformation, Professor Loretta Feris, ends in December 2021. Feris has indicated that she does not seek a second term as DVC and thus the university will start the recruitment process. Council will exercise its governance responsibility with respect to the selection process and ensure that a successor is appointed within the timeframe that applies.

The university thanks Feris for her role as DVC and for her invaluable contribution during a critical period in UCT’s history.

5. Preparations for the 2021 academic year underway

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, has welcomed staff and students as preparations for the 2021 academic get underway. She thanked students for their achievements, which were compounded by challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, and recognised efforts of many staff members who have been working long hours to prepare for the new term starting on 15 March.

Staff and students will continue being supported during this pandemic. Last year, the Independent Counselling and Advisory Services (ICAS), under UCT’s Employee Wellness Programme, assisted hundreds of staff with these challenges. Staff are encouraged to contact ICAS should they need their services. There are also many services the university has put at the disposal of students to support their various health and emotional wellbeing issues through the Student Wellness Services.


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