Report on UCT Council meeting of 14 March

18 March 2020 | From the Chair’s Desk

Dear members of the UCT community

The University of Cape Town (UCT) Council held its first meeting of the year on Saturday, 14 March 2020. A number of items were discussed, and some key decisions were taken. I write to provide brief feedback on the meeting.


Council acknowledged the seriousness of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and noted the precautionary measures put in place by the UCT executive.

Council membership

Following the resignation of Ms Debbie Budlender, Council elected Professor Shirley Zinn as Deputy Chair for the balance of the term until 30 June 2020. Council also noted the resignation of Ms Lerato Mbele. Council expressed its appreciation for the contributions that the members have made, and in particular recorded its gratitude to Ms Budlender, who had served Council and UCT over a period of multiple terms.

Due to the resignation of Ms Budlender, Council made the following appointments to the committees on which she previously served:

  • Ms Dianna Yach – University Finance Committee
  • Ms Nazeema Mohamed – University Student Affairs Committee

New chancellor

Our new chancellor, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, joined the meeting for a meet and greet. We are pleased that Dr Moloi-Motsepe accepted the invitation to serve as chancellor, are proud to be associated with an individual of her stature, and have no doubt she will be a great ambassador for UCT.

Reports by the executive

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, tabled her report – which included updates on environmental sustainability, senior appointments, Vision 2030 and student admissions. Council noted in particular the far-reaching decision to postpone the Chancellor’s installation event, and the suspension of the March 2020 graduation ceremonies in line with the recommendations to limit events that would see large numbers of people in close proximity to each other. Council also noted that the university’s first-time entering undergraduate student enrolments stood at 104% of the institutional target that had been set. Council was encouraged by the work that was being done in crafting the 2030 vision and related goals for a future UCT.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Associate Professor Lis Lange, delivered a presentation on the monitoring of UCT’s Strategic Plan 2016–2020, while Deputy Vice-Chancellor Loretta Feris presented the Transformation Report – which will be distributed through the university channels in due course.

Report on the reconstitution of Council

The term of the current Council ends on 30 June 2020. A process has begun for the reconstitution of the next Council. The registrar reported that the City of Cape Town and the Provincial Government of the Western Cape have been invited to appoint their members. The office of the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology will make five ministerial appointments. The Appointments Committee of Council will finalise its appointments in late May after elections in all other constituencies have been concluded. Calls for nominations in the professional, administrative support and service (PASS) and academic staff constituencies, and in the Convocation and Donor constituencies will be sent within the next few weeks.

Amendments to the Institutional Rules

Council approved changes to the institutional rules in response to amendments to the UCT Statute approved by the Minister and gazetted in January 2020. The amendments aim to give effect, inter alia, to the revised membership composition of the Senate and Council.

Annual reports

The annual reports of three Council committees were tabled by the relevant chairpersons and discussed by Council. The report by the University Human Resources Committee summarised its work during 2019, the report by the Remuneration Committee accounted for major actions and decisions taken, while the report of the University Building and Development Committee gave an update on construction and development projects.

The annual report of the Institutional Forum was also presented.


Mr Sipho M Pityana
Chair of UCT Council

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UCT’s response to COVID-19

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March 2020 and to implement a national lockdown from 26 March 2020. UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.

Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, has in June 2022 repealed some of South Africa’s remaining COVID-19 regulations: namely, sections 16A, 16B and 16C of the Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions under the National Health Act. We are now no longer required to wear masks or limit gatherings. Venue restrictions and checks for travellers coming into South Africa have now also been removed.

In July 2022, the University of Cape Town (UCT) revised its approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic on UCT campuses in 2022.
Read the latest document available on the UCT policies web page.


Campus communications


Adjusting to our new environment 16:50, 23 June 2022
VC Open Lecture and other updates 17:04, 13 April 2022
Feedback from UCT Council meeting of 12 March 2022 09:45, 18 March 2022
Chair of Council
March 2022 graduation celebration 16:45, 8 March 2022
Report on the meeting of UCT Council of 21 February 2022 19:30, 21 February 2022
Chair of Council
COVID-19 management 2022 11:55, 14 February 2022
Return to campus arrangements 2022 11:15, 4 February 2022

UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre

On Wednesday, 20 July, staff from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Faculty of Health Sciences came together with representatives from the Western Cape Government at the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre at Forest Hill Residence to acknowledge the centre’s significance in the fight against COVID-19 and to thank its staff for their contributions. The centre opened on 1 September 2021 with the aim of providing quality vaccination services to UCT staff, students and the nearby communities, as well as to create an opportunity for medical students from the Faculty of Health Sciences to gain practical public health skills. The vaccination centre ceased operations on Friday, 29 July 2022.

With the closure of the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, if you still require access to a COVID-19 vaccination site please visit the CovidComms SA website to find an alternative.


“After almost a year of operation, the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, located at the Forest Hill residence complex in Mowbray, will close on Friday, 29 July 2022. I am extremely grateful and proud of all staff, students and everyone involved in this important project.”
– Vice-Chancellor Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

With the closure of the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, if you still require access to a COVID-19 vaccination site please visit the CovidComms SA website to find an alternative.

Thank You UCT Community

Frequently asked questions


Global Citizen Asks: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe & Effective?

UCT’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) collaborated with Global Citizen, speaking to trusted experts to dispel vaccine misinformation.

If you have further questions about the COVID-19 vaccine check out the FAQ produced by the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation (DTHF). The DTHF has developed a dedicated chat function where you can ask your vaccine-related questions on the bottom right hand corner of the website.

IDM YouTube channel | IDM website


“As a contact university, we look forward to readjusting our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in 2023 as the COVID-19 regulations have been repealed.”
– Prof Harsha Kathard, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning

We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will be updating the UCT community regularly – as and when there are further updates. If you are concerned or need more information, students can contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours), while staff can contact 021 650 5685.