Staff engagement on COVID-19 and other updates

29 June 2022

Dear colleagues

Staff are invited to an engagement with the UCT leadership about how the university will manage on-campus operations following the repeal of COVID-19 regulations. Read more on this and other updates below.

1. Staff engagement on repealed COVID-19 regulations

South Africa repealed COVID-19 regulations that made masks mandatory in indoor public spaces, limited the size of gatherings and imposed entry requirements at its borders, as announced by Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla on 23 June 2022.

Given these developments, the university understands that many staff may have questions regarding any implications for on-campus operations because COVID-19 has not been eradicated. A staff engagement session has been arranged to discuss and answer these.

Staff are invited to join the Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Professor Ntobeko Ntusi, head of the Department of Medicine, and Dr Reno Morar, Chair of the UCT COVID-19 Co-ordinating Committee, at an information session on Friday, 1 July 2022 from 10:30 to 12:00 on MS Teams, where they will provide an update and endeavour to respond to questions and concerns.

2. Impact of loadshedding on UCT operations

Loadshedding has been continuing this week. This will regrettably have an impact on university operations. It is advisable for staff and students to regularly check loadshedding schedules in their zones, whether on campus or elsewhere for those working or studying remotely, to minimise the impact of loadshedding.

Currently, when there is power outage on campus, venues are either powered using generators or UPS systems. However, some venues do not have backup power. To maintain uninterrupted services, Properties and Services (P&S) are working towards ensuring all venues have power during outages. This is a long-term project and until it can be ensured that all venues have backup power, P&S has put together some measures to enable faculties to book venues with backup power or reschedule classes in accordance with the loadshedding schedule.

3. Deadline of 30 June 2022 for declaration of interests

All UCT staff members and members of university committees must make a full annual declaration of their financial interests and fiduciary roles and those of their immediate family members. The deadline is 30 June 2022.

This is a requirement of the Higher Education Act and applies to all staff members irrespective of their roles or positions. The process for declaration of interest is a critical part of the university’s governance, risk and compliance management system.

4. Rugby Road/Madiba East temporary closure due to maintenance work

Please be advised that the Maintenance Department needs to carry out emergency repairs on the water supply valves in Rugby Road/Madiba East on Upper Campus.

Unfortunately, this has resulted in the need to close the road temporarily to make sure that students and staff as well as motor vehicles are safe. The road will therefore be closed on 29 July 2022 and re-open on 6 July. Any inconvenience caused while the road is closed due to this necessary work is regrettable. Kindly note that the UCT Shuttle will be redirected accordingly.

The Maintenance Department will work as quickly as possible to minimise the impact of the road closure.

5. Submission of proposals to IT Investment Committee

UCT is reconvening the Information Technology Investment and Prioritisation Committee (ITIPC). It is a sub-committee of the university’s IT governance committee – the University ICT Committee.

The ITIPC did not convene in 2020 and 2021, following a decision taken by the University Finance Committee to temporarily limit capital investments due to the need to re-prioritise institutional expenditure owing to the financial impact of COVID-19.

6. Postgraduate studies planning for 2022/2023

Now is a good time to take stock of your progress in your postgraduate studies and to plan for the next stage. You may be getting ready to submit your final report, dissertation or thesis; or you may be making sure that you have appropriate support in place to complete your studies in good time.

There are some guidelines to assist you in submitting your thesis or dissertation, and in accessing resources and funding your studies in 2023.

7. Public consultation on UCT’s spatial and infrastructure development framework

The first draft of the UCT Integrated Development Framework (IDF) was prepared during 2013/14 at the request of the national Department of Higher Education and Training which required the submission of a “University Campus Master Plan” as a guide to capital expenditure in the following five to 20 years.

The IDF is intended to assist the university in meeting its growth needs, in accordance with its mission, over the next several decades, and provides a framework to guide the growth of the university from approximately 29 000 to 32 000 undergraduate and postgraduate students on campus by 2030, for which approximately 51 000m² of new academic space is required.

An integrated public consultation process for the land use management and heritage components is being undertaken and includes press adverts, on-site notices, correspondence through registered mail and e-mail, with documents available for download on the City of Cape Town website and UCT’s website.

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